Noun: A person who is from 90 to 99 years old.
A few weekends ago I went to a book release party and ended up hanging out with the parents-in-law of the author. The dad had a birthday coming up that week and was turning 91. His wife was also turning 91 this year, in August.
I don't know how we got on the topic, but our conversation turned to gardening, raising chickens and canning. They had been doing it all for decades and still grew a huge amount of food in their yard and canned like fiends every year.
They were excited to find someone my age so involved in doing something that, in the intervening decades had lost its "popularity", so to speak. Having lived through the Depression and WWII, victory gardens weren't something they did just during time of need. They were a wealth of information, sharing tips on pressure canning, canning peaches and nectarines and secrets of canning green beans.
My own grandparents didn't make it to their ages. Both grandparents on my dad's side passed away in their 50s, long before I was born. My grandparents on my mom's side lived longer, but there was no tradition of raising food since they lived their entire lives in Brooklyn. My great-grandparents owned a farm in upstate NY and my mom remembered visiting them, with stories about chickens and the like, but otherwise there was no shared knowledge to pass down.
On my husband's side of the family, being of Italian roots, there's a lot more by way of food traditions. My mother-in-law is quite a green thumb, growing tomatoes and herbs in her tiny backyard in Philadelphia, but not much else. Her grandparents used to make wine out of their Philly brownstone, which made it a popular place in the neighborhood. But, all that knowledge has been lost to us.
So, needless to say, I was excited to spend some time gleaning as much information from these two knowledgeable, elderly folks. Especially since they were still so energetic and proud about continuing these activities. They had so many years of trial and error to learn from that I rarely run across. Most people I know who are interested in urban self-sufficiency are my age or younger. And we are still in the trial and error stages. And, more importantly, most people my age are more concerned with getting the latest iPad than with growing their own food.
How about you? Do you have older folks in your life that are a resource for your urban homesteading? People who you can share experiences and learn from?