First blacksmithing class! Once I got into the rhythm of it, it was pretty fucking cool. My hands and right arm were sore during class, but not afterward or today, surprisingly enough. I have an expected blister on my right thumb from the hammer, and--the best part--I burned a couple of my fingers! While waiting to twist my two hooks, I thought I'd throw a third piece of stock in the fire to play around and maybe make something else, and as I put the stock into the tongs, I discovered the hard way that (1) hot metal can look just like cold metal, and (2) tongs pick up a lot of heat from the forge and from the bright orange-hot stuff you're holding with them. Although I got to watch the skin turn white while it burned, it's not that bad: it doesn't hurt, and it looks like the crispy dead skin will just peel off without even blistering.
It's really, really cool to be doing this elemental work that I've done so much reading on. I think I need an anvil and lightweight forge for my driveway, just to practice on. For starters I think I'll go with my original plan of a maybe-homemade charcoal forge, which will be hot enough for practice purposes and hopefully cheaper than propane (which can apparently burn a 20-gallon tank in 8 hours).
(Yep, I'd leave the anvil in the driveway, under a fold-out shade/rain structure I intend to be mostly-permanent. It was pointed out to me that nobody's going to steal your heavy stuff: the 150lb anvil on a 50lb tree stump, or the 200lb metal shear. They'll take stuff like hammers, but who wants the hassle of moving something that big? I mean, it's worth money, but not enough to hurt yourself over.)
Hey, life is good.