Up and down the mountain side you can hear dinner bells ringing between 5:30-6:30pm around here. When we lived in a neighborhood with all of our home situated closely together there wasn't any need for a bell. However, the boys play all over our land now and our closest neighbor is a half of a mile away making finding a way to call them all home easily a necessity.
At first I just called, but cell phone coverage can be a little spotty on the mountain side. Then I tried having them come home at a specific time, but boys get busy playing and forget to look at their watches. Then I remembered my grandmother ringing the dinner bell out on the farm to call us in for meals (my parents used a car horn, but I prefer the bell). Thus, we installed our dinner bell. It works like a charm.
It is mounted on an old fence post in our courtyard making good use of the unusual acoustics of the hillside and house combined. I give the bell 3-4 good rings and I know the kids are putting away their toys and racing down (or up) the hill to come to the table. It only took one time of missing out on a special dessert for them to learn that when they hear the bell they need to come running. It also took all of the frustration out of making a meal and then watching it get cold while everyone drifted in to the table.
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