I've been keeping bees since June and it is a fascinating hobby. You can get as big or stay as small as you like. Start with 2 hives and you can expand your apiary using your own bees and queens. A good beekeeper can do three or four splits a year on a hive so your little 2 hive apiary can more the quadruple in a year. You can also start from scratch if you are fortunate enough to lure a spring swarm or two into your empty hives.
My good hive put on a full size super of honey during the goldenrod flow. I didn't harvest the honey and will use it to help the bees survive during the winter. My other hive is a bit weaker and I hope to replace their queen next spring with one from the healthy hive. Right now I am supplementing their honey and pollen stores with dry white sugar. It is important to help keep the humidity down in the hive during winter.
You can harvest between 80 and 120 lbs of honey from a strong hive. Honey harvest and crop pollination are the mains reason for keeping bees but I find myself walking over to the hives and just watching them. Every bee has a job and they stay pretty busy doing it.
Hey Jerry, Liz went with me to the Baton Rouge version of a field day a couple of months ago. Her biggest worry was getting stung, you guessed it, she was the only one in the group to get it, right on the top of her head. She walk away from the hives and took off her veil because it was getting warm. I think a couple small yellow jackets got her because she was standing by a table with a bunch of open soft drinks.
BTW we have found that the little bleach pens made by Clorox are good for sting relief. Easy to keep with you and seem to work pretty well. Only problem, Liz had a small white patch of hair for a couple of weeks!