My Blog

I suppose that this is really a blog, though I hesitate to call it that. The real bloggers seem so much more interesting. I cover stuff which I find interesting, and I hope that you will too.

If you really want, you can get an RSS feed of Chateau Gladstone news here:

For more information about what I'm interested in, see the Ponding pages.

Topic: Pond   Goldfish caught eating a salamander  29 May 2002

Argh! This evening, I observed a four inch goldfish with half a salamander hanging out of its mouth. This rather suprised me as I assumed that the goldfish wouldn't go after anything that big (the salamander was probably three inches before it got munched).

I had added the salamanders to the pond last fall when a friend gave me a bunch that he had rescued from his swimming pool filter. Until today, I hadn't seen any, and now I think that ignorance of their fate was probably bliss.

Topic: Pond   The pondcam is back  16 May 2002 (Updated 22 May 2002)

I am fiddling with the pondcam -- it is back in the water but I am trying to get a good picture. So, for the next few days the picture may be at a funny angle or similar.

I am also experimenting with streaming better video, but I have not yet found a solution for netscape and IE that doesn't cause problems in (at least) one environment. I wish browsers and plugins were more compatible!

Update: For IE running with WMP7, you will now get a stream at a good frame rate. The bad news is that it doesn't work well over a slow line (unless you have your WMP preferences set to correctly specify your connection speed).

Topic: Pond   Yet more plants arrived in the mail  21 May 2002

I ordered a bunch of plants from World Plants out in Oregon. I received a Juncus Filiformus for the pond, and various other small plants. However, the real motive was to get a Gunnera Manicata. I admit that I am suffering from a severe case of zonal denial, but I felt that if I put it in a large pot, and stuck it in the basement / garage over the winter, then it ought to survive. It currently has four leaves, the largest is under a foot across. In a fit of madness, I potted it up in Miracle Grow -- the stuff that is supposed to double the size of plants. We shall see!

I also got a Ginkgo Biloba Tree. This should survive the local climate, and will make an interesting addition to the regular garden.

I have no affiliation with these guys, except as a satisfied customer.

Topic: Pond   New plants for the pond  15 May 2002

I ordered an Egyptian Papyrus from The Watergarden Shop along with some other supplies. Two plants arrived remarkably quickly and are now already sending up new shoots. Of course, I'm not following the instructions on planting, but if it gets as big as they claim, then I'll have to repot it.

I also ordered Super Clear from them to try and clear up the murky water. I was suspicious of the bottle which said 'results within 24 hours'. However, within 24 hours the water was distinctly clearer. I don't know whether to accord credit to this stuff, or whether the filter/waterfall combination got their act together.

The only failure was some floating plants that the fish promptly ate.

Anyway, they are a store that exceeded my expectations. [I have no connection with them, apart from being a satisfied customer.]

Topic: Internet Radio   Internet radio is in danger  3 Mar 2002

It turns out that the RIAA are (effectively) trying to kill Internet Radio using the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel. The long and short is that broadcasters need to pay copyright owners for the use of their material. Thus an Am/FM broadcaster pays a fixed rate (set by the government) for the use of music.

The rates and other requirements are now being set for Internet Radio. The proposed rates are excessive (I think) and the reporting requirements are outrageous (I think). For other information, you can go to or the CARP website.

Happily, you can still comment on this subject. My comments can be found at CARP Comments.

Topic: Weather   Leonids of 2001  18 Nov 2001

We saw the Leonids this morning, and very nice they were too. I got a couple of photographs which are worth looking at (out of 200 which I shot!)

Topic: Pond   Pondcam turned off for the Winter  11 Nov 2001

This weekend is the pond cleanout weekend. The camera is out of the pond, to return in the spring. It turns out that there is a small water leak as there was about a teaspoonful of water inside the housing. Happily it hadn't reached the camera module itself.

This year we have too many plants to fit in the bottom of the pond, so some will have to overwinter in the basement.

We are going to leave the baby fish (now up to three inches) in the top pond. This means that I need to get another pump and airstone for it. Unfortunately Tetra have stopped making the TetraLuft pump that I use for the bottom pond.

Update: I got a Tetra DW96 and hooked it up, and it seems to work. I can't take the waterfall pump out as one of the valves doesn't fully close any more. I need to visit Home Depot to get more plumbing parts!

Topic: Pond   What a lot of hits!  28 Oct 2001

Somebody added a link to this page from a pond chat bulletin board. The number of hits that I got was about 10 times my daily level.

Topic: Weather   1-Wire Barometer woes  5 Oct 2001 (Updated 28 Oct 2001)

I'm in the process of building a 1-wire barometer to add to the weather station. However, it isn't going very well. See the progress page for the full story. Update: I'm going to add an instrumentation amplifier to do the level shifting, provide some gain and buffer the input to the A/D.

Update: It now works much better with the instrumentation amp. I'm leaving it running overnight to see if it really works (i.e. measures the pressure)!

Topic: Pond   Lots of Salamanders  26 Sep 2001

I received 28 Northern Two-lined Salamanders from a friend who scooped them out of his swimming pool. We added them to the top pond and they promptly vanished. Some of them climbed out and hid under the rocks around the edge. Some of them climbed up plants. Some hid under rocks on the bottom.

I guess that this is more than enough for one pond. We will see in the spring whether they return to breed!



The Citizen Weather Observer Program is a loose collection of amateur weather station operators.

Information about SPF (Sender Permitted From)

Neat description of the Gunnera Manicata -- a truly monstrous plant!

Open source audio/video streaming software -- this drives my pondcam

Open source server for the Rio Receiver -- this is what I use.

The Doc Searls weblog -- he seems clueful and I read him.

Philip Gladstone