Random Thoughts

The Number 13: A Year in Review

Lucky number 13

In American culture, the number 13 is considered unlucky.

But in Chinese culture, 13 is a very lucky number. When the numbers are spoken in Mandarin or Cantonese, they sound like the words for “growth” and “living” and signify a lifetime of prosperity. With all the awesome things that happened this year — the lucky 2013 — I’d have to say this is one superstition that sits well with me!

I honestly didn’t think 2013 could top 2012 (which I’d previously proclaimed to be the most amazing year, culminating in my Mexican beach wedding), but as I look back on the last 12 months, I’m shocked and excited to say… this is now the most amazing year! (I may have to find a new word soon, as I sometimes feel I overuse the word amazing… but I can’t help it, it really is the perfect word.)

On September 9, Garden Betty celebrated its third anniversary by unveiling a complete redesign of the site that was a whole summer in the making. (Never have sleepless nights been more worth it!)

In November, my mug made the newsstand rounds (and it’s still on newsstands now through February) in The Whole Seed Catalog, a special issue published by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds that’s part magazine, part catalog, and pure food porn.

There was another huge, huge opportunity that landed in my lap around the same time, and while I hate it when people build up suspense and then don’t spill the beans, I just had to type it out here (for my own sake before I explode) and tell you — no matter how annoying it may seem right now, ha — that I’ll share the very exciting news shortly!

In 2013, I uploaded 156 posts and 1,675 images — my busiest year yet on the blog! (I still find it a little hard to wrap my mind around the fact that it’s double the 83 posts and 760 images I uploaded last year.)

If I had to give my blog a tagline for 2013, I’d call it the “Year of Fermentation.” I fermented all manner of vegetables (from kraut to kimchi, mustard greens to spicy salsa) and even fermented seeds for next year’s tomato crop and feed for my own chickens.

Speaking of, I learned more than I ever thought I would this year from the chickens. I updated my popular homemade whole grain chicken feed recipe (it’s now corn-free) and gave tips on caring for your flock while they’re shedding feathers. While the end of summer was marked with sadness (the passing of my Easter Egger, Gisele), I hoped that writing about my experiences would help other chicken-keepers facing difficult decisions on end of life, managing fowl pox in a flock, and giving spa baths in times of sickness.

This was also the year I crushed a few food myths (carrot tops, tomato leaves? Yes — both edible!) and explored the science behind purple beans and the edibility of weeds, seeds, and flowers.

Adventure-wise, the pinnacle of 2013 was a week-long backpack from Yosemite High Country to Yosemite Valley, a 27-mile journey with 15,315 feet of elevation change that started at Raisin Lake and ended at Half Dome (see the entire Epic Yosemite series here). I also started the process of fixing up the Dream Boat down in Baja and that’s an adventure in itself!

Writing and researching for my blog is one of the most exciting and fulfilling parts of my day, and I hope you’ve enjoyed a year of learning, growing, and seeking the good life with me.

Below are the greatest hits of 2013, plus a few of my personal favorites.

Choose Your Adventure

Garden Goodness

In the Kitchen

Here’s to a bright and beautiful New Year full of life’s simple pleasures, at home and in the wild!

Linda Ly About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »


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