This was my first year with bees. I thought I might tell you how it went, in case there are folks contemplating getting into bees next year. I have two hives. I bought all my stuff, including two packages of bees, from Dadant. I started with the woodenware about 18 months ahead of time, just because I wanted to take my time reading about beekeeping, and assembling the supers, painting them, etc. Also, beekeeping is not an inexpensive hobby to get into. So I took it slow..... Dadant has a storefront about 90 minutes from here, so I had some stuff shipped and I made a couple trips out there when it seemed it would save me money on shipping heavy stuff. I learned almost everything I know about beekeeping from books and the internet. I do have a coworker who has bees, and he offered some suggestions, but I went into this with absolutely no hands-on experience at all. I highly recommend the book "Beekeeping For Dummies". I took a shallow super and nailed a board to the bottom as a "carrier", and today I pulled the capped frames that I will spin out when I have time. It was cold this morning, but we still have some goldenrod in bloom, although not much. We had a very hot, dry year. I ended up with 2 shallow supers full of capped honey altogether. I have no idea if that's good or bad. Doesn't seem like a lot, but I'm hoping you all will tell me how much you get this year, per hive. One of my hives was weak compared to the other, and that one only contributed about 5 full frames. Don't know how much honey I'll get out of two shallow supers. I left each hive a full deep super for winter. I'm in New York, with low temps at -30 degrees. I also bought top feeders for sugar syrup. I plan on winterizing this weekend if it doesn't rain. I will wrap with roofing paper and stack bales of hay as a windbreak. I am single, live alone, work fulltime plus mandatory OT, and grow a market garden. I'm a middle-aged woman. This part of my homesteading venture was by far the easiest, requiring very little time once the woodenware was put together and painted. I would say I have somewhere around $1200 in this, including a new 4 frame hand crank extractor. Like many other things, most of the expenses are a one time cost. I wear white clothes, nothing special other than a veil and gloves. I only got stung once this year, and it only hurt for about 5 minutes. I have many friends and coworkers who are waiting to buy honey. They think this is a very cool hobby. I doubt that I will ever have too much honey. I can't wait to extract!