Home Home Sweet Home Warn and Welcome: Old Bell for a New Gate

Warn and Welcome: Old Bell for a New Gate

Warn and Welcome: Old Bell for a New Gate

Saved by the Bell…

garden gate welcoming bell My elegant early warning system; more of a ga-long, ga-long, than a ding-dong, ding-dong.

My kitchen nook and home office are one in the same. I face south toward the cottonwoods and a large moss-covered maple pondering the start of my day and the words for this very blog. Just outside my window, a relatively new fenced-in area keeps Boz and Gracie out of the way of indifferent UPS and FedEx drivers and off of the limbs of dear neighbors who walk with a cane or visitors who find no charm in cheeky bulldogs.

cow bell for a garden gateMom’s mystery bell, not sure of its origin or purpose…cowbell, perhaps? 

For some reason, I rarely hear when a visitor opens and walks through the gate, up the stairs, through my mudroom to the interior kitchen door, which is usually open. Trouble is by the time they reach that point, I’m usually trapped in the nook sporting boxers and a spaghetti-stained t-shirt, or standing at the stove singing along to Merle Haggard or Aretha Franklin. Not a pretty sight for the uninitiated (or initiated for that matter).

I must have mentioned to my mother how I don’t hear approaching visitors, because this week she sent me a handsome solution to being caught off guard: a bell for my garden gate. What looks to be a cow bell, enjoys a wonderful patina and hand-hammered pedigree. Two hooks later and the bell was tested for sound. Whether opened gently or with purpose, the gate now shares the action audibly in the form of a bass-based clunk, a ga-long of sorts. Success. I am now safe from impromptu scrutiny and remarks about by sartorial choices, or lack there of, and my visitors from being bowled over by two beefy bulldogs. Thanks Mom!

garden gate at Tall Clover Farm Thanks for the visit; oh, and please, don’t forget to close the gate.

And just in case you want to hear what to bell sounds like, click image below.


  1. Your mom is a gem! You are too. Frauline and I talking coming to see our favorite garden speaker at the Vashon Garden Tour!

  2. Hi. I’m new to your blog. Found it a couple weeks ago, just sat down after sanding front door for a break, thought I would read your blog and poke around.
    At .57 on the bluebell flower tour, there are some tiny white flowers, what are they? Would it be possible to get a close up of the bluebells?
    I’m a transpanted northern californian living in cool air starved phoenix, and I am enchanted with your garden.
    Love the gate pattern. And I just took my Christmas lights down this morning. LOL Great minds Tom. 😉

    • Hi Janine,
      Thanks so much for the visit and introduction. My bluebells are now kaput, but here is a link showing a close-up of the little florets: http://www.vanmeuwen.com/medias/sys_master/8797670342686.jpg

      As for the white flowers, the smallest are called snowdrops or galanthus, and there is also a later flowering cousin Leucojum, or summer snowdrops as some folks call them. Both bulbs naturalize nicely but I fear Phoenix would be too hot for their growing needs. From one great mind to another ;-)Tom


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