I'm from Maryland too, and rejoined yesterday (could not remember my old info from about three or four years ago.)
I'm always fascinated watching the bees pollinate our garden too. They are so industrious, quite inspiring watching them go about their daily activities. :)
When I was a child I used to try to follow them back to their hive, (I just wanted to see their home) that never worked since they moved so fast, lol.
Oh that must have been fascinating seeing an active swarm. I've never seen that before, perhaps someday I will. :) Like yourself I have a few books and am simply looking to learn as much as I can before finally purchasing my babies. :) I'm definitely looking forward to being a first time beekeeper.