I kept bees as a hobby when I was in high school in southern California 30-odd years ago. I had no money and did everything myself from scratch. I worked up to a total of 12 hives by catching wild swarms, and I made the brood chambers, bottoms, lids, and supers myself. I also made my own bee suit and related accessories. I kept my hives in a friend's orange orchard. We had torrential rains one year which washed away everything. All that hard work gone. I was so discouraged that I never rebuilt.
Then I got busy with college and a career, etc., and never had time nor the space to keep bees. Now, life has settled down and the career has stabilized so that I have the time and space to start keeping bees again.
I will be getting my new bees in the Spring of 2012. In the mean time, I am reading books and forums, and will be ordering the necessary supplies in preparation for Spring 2012.