I was about to get the old snow-blower out, when I heard Joe’s rig coming up the road.  He has one of those old skidders with a hunk of scrap pipeline steel hung on the front for a blade, little by skidder standards, but big enough for any snow we will ever get.  He roars into the yard and scrapes it all out in a couple of minutes, including one of my lilac bushes, but what the heck, it will grow back. He stops and I invite him in for coffee.

“Sure a lot of snow this year,” I offer, “seems the highway is closed half the time, with trucks laying all over like a kids tinker toys, folks killed too.  We could sure use some of that global warming.”

“Yep”, says Joe, warming his hands on his coffee mug, “we got incompetent highway maintenance, and incompetent long-haul truckers, you would think they never saw snow before.  The good news is they make the city effort look a bit better than it deserves to, have you seen the big mess in town?”

I said “Young fellow down the road works for the city, says the trouble all started 10 years ago, and it’s got a lot worse now, says it’s the beancounters who are screwing it up.  I asked how, and he says city hall made a decree that they can’t call anybody in when it snows, or pay any overtime, so instead of having the snow all gone overnight before any traffic gets on it, we spend a week fighting with it, working in traffic.  Even worse, we can’t hire private equipment in a big storm, so they had to buy a whole lot more equipment than we really need, and hire guys to run it.  Costs way more, but city hall actually thinks they are saving money.”

“Amen to beancounters”, from Joe.  Then he went on “speaking of global warming, I just saw they had snow in Cairo, Egypt, first time in 150 years.  And last year they were skating on the canals in Holland, first time in 500 years.  Anybody who actually still believes the global baloney really has drunk the cool-aid!  Good cookies, I bet you didn’t make them yourself”, as he picks up his third one from the bowl I had set out.

“Help yourself, made them this morning,” I lied, actually I bought them at the farmers market.

Then Joe really got on a rant, “Have you seen the latest?  They are going to put a surcharge on our gas to help build more highways in Toronto!  Looks like the Liberals fighting the Conservative mayor who wants to build more subways instead!  As if we care, it is none of our concern, just give us our fair share and leave us out of Toronto’s problems!  Ten cents a litre!  Add that to all the other crap that is going down, like insane hydro rates and over-the-top environmentalism trying to push us out of our homes, and you have to wonder how long before the Separatist Movement gets really going!  They got my vote!”

Wow.  Come to think of it, Joe gets really cranky every time he gets that old skidder out.  Probably the howling noise it makes gets to him.

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