I entered beekeeping a bit reluctantly, quite sure that I didn't know nearly enough to start this complicated (yet simple) venture. Well, good thing I didn't know HOW MUCH I didn't know :)
I got 2 packages of Italians, installed them into 2 of the 4 topbars my husband and I built, and they took off! One stalled for a while, the other swarmed, we did a split, taking 3 bars of brood from each hive. The split hive now has a queen, plus queen cups and the possible beginning of a supercedure cell. The swarmed hive has an amazing laying queen, a bunch of swarm cups starting and so much honey that we pulled 4 bars of it yesterday!
What a ride!! I never imagined how much time this adventure would take. With observation windows in each hive, it's incredible that I'm still holding down my job, raising kids and living life :D Even with the reading I crammed in late last winter, I can honestly say I have never in my life learned as much as I have on this forum.
Thanks to all of you who have so kindly and graciously answered all my questions (including the dumb ones). I really appreciate it! I really look forward to hopefully many years of keeping bees. It has been an incredible learning experience not only for me but my husband, both our families, our kids, our friends, our kids' friends and their classes!
Just had to pass on this raving to you all who understand :)