This was going to be a happy post. I was going to wax lyrical about the benefits of using newspaper as a weed prohibitor and mulch. But alas, the blackbirds have hatched for the season.
It takes quite awhile to lay newspaper, particularly if it's around those stupid roses in my front yard which are thankless at best, leaving marks on your wrists that suggest that you're not really coping with life (I know I should just rip the pink-flowering devils out, but I feel guilty at the prospect of killing them). You have to water the ground underneath, lay some compost, then layer wet newspaper over the surface of the compost (it takes longer than you think), and cover it in pine bark, sugar cane mulch, straw or other similar mulch, so that it doesn't dry out too much or fly away into your anally retentive neighbour's backyard.
The newspaper is fantastic for keeping down weeds and will break down readily, feeding your plants. Excuse my scepticism, but I believe it's also a far more efficient way of recycling newspaper than the council bins.
However, I didn't take into account the blackbirds. I can hear them making spring babies in my gutters in the morning. By mid afternoon, they're digging up the newspaper: scratched up flakes of Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull lying in the dirt amongst the hybernating roses.
The weeds are rebuilding their empire, and so Spring begins.