This first potting table I purchased from Tom Ecklund sits on my back porch.

A couple of summers ago, I discovered the gorgeous potting tables made by Tom Ecklund of Sebastopol, who was selling them at the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Markets on Saturdays. Every week, I’d look at the tables enviously but simply could not decide which one I wanted. Eventually, I chose one with pretty red metal tile worked into the back, no surprise to anyone who knows me, as I adore the color. But the ones with blue tile were gorgeous, too.

Tom brought the table to my house and set it up on my back porch, where it has served me well. Late last summer, I splurged and bought a second potting table, which sits on my deck and serves as an outdoor bar when I have a rare party and holds the various bird seeds that I put out for crows, finches and whatever birds like suet-based feeds. I love seeing it whenever I look out my dining room window.

My second potting table is on my deck, where it works nicely as a serving area when I have and outdoor party.

I’ve also gotten a unique bird bath–yes, it is red–and a garden tool box (red!) from Tom.

Everything–his tables, tool boxes and other items–are made of reclaimed wood, bed frames, old metal tile and other found items.

On Saturday evening, not long after Tom left his workshop to go to the grocery store, a fire broke out. Even though his neighbor saw the smoke quickly and phoned him, by the time he’d raced home, it was too late. The workshop, a lot of wood and all of his tools were destroyed. You can read about the fire here.

Luckily, he’s insured. Still, it will take some time to recover from such a loss. If you see him at a market–he’s a regular on Saturdays at the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market at the Wells Fargo Center (50 Mark West Springs Rd.) and also attends other farmers markets, including Sebastopol and Healdsburg–take a minute to say hi and ask how things are going. When tragedy strikes, it is community that helps us get through. Luckily, no one–not Tom, not his partner, not their feisty little dachshund–was hurt.

I fell in love with this bird bath the moment I saw it at the Santa Rosa farmers market. The birds seem to like it, too.