13 In Muse


About three and a half years ago, my husband and I bought a house. I started this blog to share the journey of DIY, self-sufficiency, and urban homesteading. We planned on this being our forever home, and we have poured tons of work (and money) into it. You may have noticed that lately, I haven’t shared any posts about projects on the Sweet Bee homestead. That’s because I haven’t had anything to share. Other than day-to-day chores, I’ve pretty much stopped doing anything. It turns out this is not our forever home; we are moving.


In early-August, my husband interviewed for a higher position within his company. He was offered the job, but he needed to be more centrally located for the territory he would be involved in (he’s in sales). We’d have to move to Sacramento.

He verbally accepted the position, but the company didn’t have a formal offer letter pulled together yet. It’s an international company, and apparently, it takes forr-eee-vvv-eerrrr (hopefully you read that with the Sandlot in your mind) for things to move through the billion layers of corporate nonsense. They said they would get something to us soon.

And so we waited. And waited. And waited some more. We didn’t know when we were going to be moving, just at some point in the near future. I didn’t want to invest more funds and energy into house projects and plants if we were just going to leave a few days later, and I didn’t want to have another half-finished project laying around.


After months of limbo-land hell, Matt has formally accepted the position. So yes, we are selling our house, and the garden I have literally poured sweat, blood and tears into. I will pass along my gorgeous kitchen with its giant sink, pantry and 6-burner stove to someone else. I will say goodbye to the mockingbird that lives outside my bedroom window, who sings sonnets to the full moon. I will no longer find my friend frog and salamander, who surprise me and hide under rocks. I will leave my wonderful neighbors behind. I will have to accept defeat from my battle with the Bermuda grass.


Life has been in a bit of upheaval lately. I’ve been quite an emotional mess: trying to process too many feelings that come with such a change.

Besides the obvious stress of having to sell and buy a home, the anticipation of having to adapt to a new city looms heavy on my heart. I am not opposed to change, and I like exploring new things; but it’s the knowledge of place and sense of home that I will be returning to, that makes those new experiences for a highly-sensitive person like myself possible.

Feeling that I belong and understand a place is crucial to my well-being. I don’t do well with not feeling rooted. When I first moved away from my hometown of Santa Cruz, I had a breakdown at the grocery store in my new town because I couldn’t find the bread. I’ve had nightmares more than once where I’ve forgotten what road to take to get to my favorite childhood beach. After 10 years here, I’m comfortable in my county. Other than the Bermuda-triangle situation of Fountain Grove/Bicentennial, I know exactly where to go and where everything is. I know the ‘secret’ spots to walk Stella off leash. I know where to find blackberries, and what farmers markets are the best. I will not know that in my new city. I know it will come eventually, but the knowledge that I will once again feel lost is difficult.


There are many good things about moving to Sacramento. It seems like the local food and urban gardening movement is just taking hold, and for someone who wants to teach and write about those topics, it seems like a good time to be there. I found a Sacramento gardening group on Facebook that trades plants and produce; I found fellow beekeepers on Instagram. They just passed a chicken ordinance (albeit one that’s super crappy) and you’re allowed to keep bees. I will be significantly closer to my parents, Tahoe and Yosemite, making short weekend trips feasible. My best friend lives there, and another childhood friend lives close by in Davis.

Most days I can see these benefits and I’m excited. Others, I can’t quite see the light and am only filled with a sense of loss. I’ve spent almost a decade making friends and building a community in Sonoma County. My professional development had just started to take off: writing for the Press Democrat and the City of Santa Rosa, I was booked to speak at a garden club, I was doing designs for my own clients and for a respected landscape company, and there was mention of contributing to a local magazine. My garden was going to be on the Eco-Friendly Garden Tour, and my photos were going be used for publicity. I love the good food of Sonoma County, the good music, how easy it is to access nature in a variety of ecosystems, and the general atmosphere that a liberal Bay Area community provides.


I know that selling a home happens all the time, and moving is not a big deal. But the concept and whole process of selling a home to a stranger is a strange and difficult feeling for me to process. The home is described in 450 characters. People come and look at it, without me being to the one to tell them its story. I choose someone from text and financial figures alone. I allow a stranger to take over my land’s stewardship and join my neighborhood without me meeting them.

I’ve spent so much time cultivating a relationship with my house and garden that I know it intimately. I would never leave my beloved Gaia or Stella, or even annoying Bacon, to a random person off Craigslist- why would a home be any different? I love my home and my land, even with all its flaws and quirks. I feel such a strong responsibility for the soil, the butterflies, the migratory flocks of Cedar Waxwings and Robins, the water under my soil, the resident Scrub Jays, and the native bees that visit my flowers. It’s unbelievably difficult for me to simply pass the care of these beings along to someone else. I’ve tried to explain this feeling to other people, and very few get it.


So yeah, that’s my life lately. I withdrew from the horticulture program that I was halfway though completing. I’m putting my design and coaching work on hold. I’ll continue to write. You can expect upcoming posts like how to move bees, transplant asparagus, plan a new garden, and how I’m finding ways to connect to nature in a metropolitan area with a population of 2,414,783.

Thank you for your continued support and for following my adventure!

If you, or if you happen to know of someone who would love to take over and care for my homestead, please, let me know.


Interested in what we’ve done over the past 3 years? You can read that here:


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  • Reply
    November 2, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Ok… Yes, one part of your life is coming to an end… But just think of how awesome it will be to pour all your knowledge into a NEW area?!

    Everything you have learned and an area to start again. To mould and shape, the mistakes you have learned from and not needing to replicate!

    And if you move at a certain time of year you may well be able to hit the ground running, especially if you have already made friends in your new area.
    Talk about your house warming party? What about a garden warming party! Everyone could bring a small thing you may need. You get everyone to bring a spade and you get cracking! B-)

    Yeah, its stressful. But you can find the good points.
    And at least you will have plenty of blog-fodder!

  • Reply
    Sheri Perez
    November 2, 2016 at 9:41 am

    I am so sorry, Melissa! Very heartbreaking indeed and my heart aches for you! You and I have moved parallel to each other as we transformed our land into our urban homestead.

    My husband and I moved to Petaluma from Oakland in 2010 (I grew up in Sebastopol but moved to Oakland in 1997). I planted 2 kiwis in Spring of 2010 and got my first two kiwis this year – about 6 years later. I was excited to read about you planting them and having to wait like I did with great anticipation. You began raising chickens a lot sooner than I did as I started this year. We built our coop and pen and now have 16 chickens whom I adore but won’t name as they will eventually go in the stockpot once they stop laying. I kept beehives in Sebastopol when younger but haven’t decided if I will do so in Petaluma. My mom and I can about 1000 jars of food every summer and share with my brother and SIL and sometimes her mom.

    I found your blog by happy accident a few years ago when searching for foraging groups in Sonoma County. I also found the Sonoma County Mychology Association which I now belong to. Your blog is very entertaining and I’ve enjoyed reading about your journey as I weave through my own.

    Many wishes sent to you. Send me your MLS link as my brother and SIL are looking for a home (in Sebastopol) but your garden might be intriguing. They are in escrow right now selling their home over off Fulton.

    I wish you could wave a magic wand to uplift your home from the earth and transfer it to Sacramento. Sending you many positive thoughts as your find a new place to take root.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Me and Gabby are going to miss you!! So sad to see you leaving the beautiful little homestead 🙁

  • Reply
    November 2, 2016 at 10:43 am

    My heart breaks for you, while another part of it rejoices in your transplantation and regrowth. I’m one of those who “gets it.” You’re leaving part of yourself in this homestead.

    • Reply
      November 2, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      Thank you for your kind words, Ann!

  • Reply
    November 2, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Oh, Melissa. I heard echos of my past in your present. I am sorry your plans changed and hope that long term it isn’t just for the better, but for the much better. Take care of yourself and be patient and gentle with yourself during this transition.

    • Reply
      November 2, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      Thank you for your kind words! I’m sure it will be great, we just have to get there…..

  • Reply
    Hope Smitherman
    November 3, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    I understand your trepidation over the move and learning a new place. But, at the same time I’m excited for you too. I’m a new follower so I’m looking forward to your new start and you teaching us how to begin.
    Wishing you all the best for finding the right buyers, the right house, and a seamless transition between the two.

  • Reply
    East Sac Edible
    November 4, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Although I know how painful it is to move from a place you worked so hard to make your home, I am secretly excited about your move to Sacramento since that is where I am! There is so much happening in Sacramento around urban farming and food. Hopefully we can share plant starts in the near future!

    • Reply
      November 5, 2016 at 8:24 am

      That would be awesome!

  • Reply
    Jay Olson
    November 5, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Melissa, one fun note: you will be close to Brianna!! You should look them up because Jason is doing real estate and could help you find the purrrfect place!

    • Reply
      November 6, 2016 at 7:56 am

      Yea, he’s helping us find a house! Was up on Friday to meet with lender, going next weekend to start looking at houses.

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