Boards and Bags


“Mighty fine-lookin’ bean bags you got there,” says the Bearded One.  I’m sitting in the hut at my 1980 Singer sewing machine scowling at the Instruction Manual and trying to complete the simplest project — 8 regulation 6″x6″ Cornhole bags.  I look up.

Ever since the Bearded One proposed last week, he’s been flirting shamelessly — he calls it sinuendo — and I smile, because I’m not really irritated.  “Ha!” I say, and then he tromps up the half-finished new deck stairs into the house and I return to my bobbin problem.

Cornhole bags 001

We’ve got a new project — construction of a horseshoe-esque lawn game called Cornhole, including 2 outdoor game boards and 8 bean bags, for our daughter’s wedding reception in less than two weeks.  Neither of us had ever heard of it before, and thought the name a bit sketchy, but it’s actually a real game and there’s even an American Cornhole Association, and we’ve been asked to make a set for use at the picnic reception.


The Bearded One’s doing the boards and I’m doing the bags.  And even though I’m wrestling with this machine, it’s truly a minor glitch.  For some reason, we both have seized upon this project and thrown all else — deck construction, gardening, chain-sawing — to the wind.


Garfield walks past the open hut door to get my attention.  Then he sits on the deck and looks out at the backyard, clearly thinking about Ruby, our late dog, who he would most certainly be pestering right now if she weren’t still dead.


He returns to the hut doorway.  “Meeee — Owwwww?”  I keep explaining this to him.  Dead means gone forever.  Things are different, or at least more different than usual.  As if he can’t tell.  Ruby was his only other “animal” companion.  Gone.

I’m moving things around.  Like this sewing machine, which I haven’t used in eons.  I set it up out here, where all the deck action has been, around this 4-foot-diameter cedar tree which has a little lagoon between roots and where the hose waters it for hours.  It sounds like a fountain.


I bought the machine brand new in 1981 and I’ve sewed curtains, window shades, Princess Diana-style 1980s skirts and jackets, and lots of children’s Halloween costumes including a buckskin suit and the famous Batman ensemble.


Four of the Cornhole bags are cut from leftover buckskin scraps — polyester ultrasuade — and now I’m remembering how hard it was to sew this plushy stuff.  I have to wrestle it under the presser foot so that the little metal table beneath it rocks.  I made the buckskin suit in a little rental house 17 years ago.

The other four bags are denim from the hem of a forgotten skirt.  The officially correct cracked corn I’m filling them with is from our barn,


where the Bearded One has cut and sanded and stained the two Cornhole boards, the same dark stain as the deck.

cornhole boards progress 001

“She’s dead,” I say, “and you are a sweet, sweet kitty.”  He licks his paw then walks away, down the deck steps and out across the dry lawn to inspect the lawn chairs the Bearded One set up for us to watch the meteor shower.  If it’s not cloudy.  Which it probably will be.  But maybe not.

Rhubarb with Garfield 005

The screen door at the top of the deck opens and the Bearded One clomps back down the steps with a Coke.  He stops at the hut and peers in, inspects the two finished bags on the table again and raises his eyebrows.  “Yes sir, a matched pair if ever I saw one.”


17 responses to “Boards and Bags

  1. “Sinuendo” is officially my new favorite word.
    We have a similar game down at our lake property, using large washers. The boards are actually shallow boxes turned over, with three holes of differing point value. It’s been very popular since my brother in law built it several (maybe ten, actually) years ago. I never knew there was an American Cornhole Association, though. Guess you learn something new every day.
    Love all of your preparations for the wedding. I’m getting excited for it, too!

    • “Dustgusting” WAS my favorite Bearded One word…as in our road in the summer…although we love it and would never want it paved…but I’m with you, “Sinuendo” is the word for this summer. lol I don’t know how we’ve missed out on all this bag tossing, but we’ll catch up at the wedding. I’m getting excited, too. 😉

  2. Believe it or not, I had heard of cornhole, so perhaps I am more ‘worldly’ than you are! I look forward to Wednesdays to catch up on farmlet news. Glad to observe just how multi-talented you and Bearded One are. Love the pictures.

  3. I was considering purchasing a new hat for the wedding – but obviously my old sun-hat will do as I shall be outside playing cornhole just as soon as the nuptials are over!

    It all sounds so very …. real and warm and down-homey …… and you make me feel as if I am indeed part of it. Like Robbyn, I look forward to my weekly installment and find myself opening your email first on [for me] Thursday morning.

    • I love that you enjoy the blog so much, Pauline! You are officially a member of the Farmlet tribe, and I always enjoy your comments. I laughed out loud about your new hat for the wedding. Perhaps I should get a hat! As mother of the bride, my “outfit” has been a challenge…ha! A hat would solve a lot. 🙂

  4. I’ve never played Cornhole :-). It sounds like a blast! What a sweet labor of love. I’m so glad you are getting excited! One of the saddest things about losing a beloved pet is seeing other pets looking for them :-(. It’s heartbreaking. That’s sweet he’s keeping the flirting going. I hope he keeps it up to keep your spirits up a bit to distract you from your grief! I’m impressed by your sewing talent. My mother made me take a sewing course as a teenager and I remember making a halter dress because it was easiest and I have made it a point to never sew since! You guys are multi-talented! Way to go!

    • I used to sew a lot, but not in the past decade or so. It used to be cheaper to sew clothes, but fabric etc. now is usually more expensive. I sew patches and buttons and the occasional “project” like these bean bags. I remember making a halter once, too, in the old days, but mainly lots and lots of peasant tops. Loved that elastic, covers a multitude of mistakes!

  5. Christine Widman

    Our family loves a game called bocce. A game we learned overseas – Italian in origin. All you need is a grassy lawn, wooden balls, and an arm that can throw-roll the ball. So any age can play it which our tribe loves.
    I’ve never played Cornhole though it sounds like a game that born and bred Iowans should know. Not sure how I missed out on this one.
    Can’t wait to play it at the wedding.
    Having been through a major “dustgusting” dust clean-up here after a drain pipe replacement under the kitchen floor, my love & I have been enjoying some “sinuendo.” “Dustgust” turned into delight.
    lololol the Bearded One’s creative language.

    • The ACA (American Cornhole Association) is in Ohio, Christine, and Ohio claims to have started it all in the U.S. It was a surprise to me, too! It’s like horseshoes, or, yes, bocce, which I’ve seen played. Same basic concept. We’ll have to play a round at the wedding!

  6. I too, missed Cornhole. I have heard of a game that’s the rage around here you play with a frisbee tossing it into a garbage can-like container. A slot. Not even a hole. I forget what it’s called. Cornhole sounds much more manageable. Not wanting to be overly picky, but are those board holes big enough for the four-inch bags? I’m concerned that the Bearded One has been long on sinuendos and short on construction calculations.

  7. I have sobered up enough to reply to this post…Kym and I are feeling our 50, might have to go teetotal after she heads back home methinks! I love the idea of playing “cornhole” at the wedding, inuendo or not ;). Molly is VERY lucky that I am not her mum or the end result would be decidedly off centre left. I used some of your precious jam to sandwich Kyms birthday cake, she said to tell you “YUM!!!” it is scrumptious. I don’t know how you do it but your jam is still numero uno in the delicious stakes. I have NEVER tasted better and I am not fibbing :). Now I have Kym to back me up. Enjoy the last of that lovely long summer that you are having as our trees are budding up and it’s almost time to pass the baton over to the Southern Hemisphere… we are being drowned at the moment…no rain over summer and winter fully intends to drown us…not too sure what this summer is going to bring us but the driveway needs fixing as it has been washed away. Poor Kym might not be able to drive back down it to head home on Sunday! ;). Steve might have to ferry her into town on the Mumbley Cumumbus! 😉

    • Autumn is knocking on our door here, Fran. It’s rained the past 2 days and the lows are in the 40s F (7-9C) and many plants are going to seed. The rest of the USA is still burning up, but not us. Your rain sounds torrential, but a good soaking to start the spring is a good thing. I’m so glad you and Kym enjoyed the jam together! Next box I send to Tasmania is going to have a baggie of Pomona’s Universal Pectin in it, so you, too, can make great jam. Hugs. 🙂

  8. Is the hut your own personal tree house space? This is eerie how much we are alike. Next time, if there is a next time 😉 try putting a strip of waxed paper between your fabric and the plate when you feed it through. It may make it easier, and this or tissue is a must for sewing shear fabrics too!

    • The hut is on the other side of the northwest corner cedar, just a 100 square feet with lots of windows and a Murphy Bed. The original owner/builder wanted to write a book in there, but never did. I thought I’d do so as well, and have used it to write a novella when my computer broke (I write first drafts by hand), but mainly it is a multi-purpose place. Two years ago it had a chick brooder in it! I’ve also used it as a greenhouse in the spring, before we made the hoophouse. Oooo, and thanks for the sewing tip. I might just get back into it now that the machine is all set up out there so invitingly. 🙂 It is interesting how we seem to have parallel lives in our farmletting and writing and whoknowswhatelse! I look forward to reading more of your adventures. 🙂

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