Milling is dirty, noisy work— but I enjoy it. Each log gets easier and the work more productive as you go. You start with a log that has been taking up room on the pile and finish with something you can use. It begins as something that is too heavy to lift without the tractor and ends up as many boards you can lift with your hands. The log gets easier to handle as it gets smaller and easier to secure squarely. The first few cuts only generate waste (firewood), but the later cuts are all boards.
The original boardwalk was made of hickory—because that was what had fallen that year, 1998—with black locust for the portion in contact with the ground. Luke replaced some boards a few years ago, and extended the length of the boardwalk. The boards this year are from an ash tree that fell in the farm field over the winter.
Here's a photo of the boardwalk when I first put it in ten years ago. It keeps visitors' feet out of the mud a little and prevents compaction of the soil on the trail. I designed it to use as little wood as possible and not to restrict overland flow of water. A decade is about all we could expect out of the original wood; the new boards look great but they too will decay. Rot, like rust, never sleeps. I am reminded that we should not build more (boardwalks, fences, etc.) than we can maintain. But I am encouraged that hammering nails into black locust, after ten years in ground contact, is still like nailing into stone.