NateMerrill [dot] com A personal blog Fri, 02 Jun 2017 21:35:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 103139301 Continued Ketosis & Continued Weight Loss Fri, 02 Jun 2017 21:35:30 +0000 I have continued to maintain a level of moderate nutritional ketosis without recurrence of the keto rash; I have found that averaging around 35g of net carbs allows me to maintain nutritional ketosis – generally, 1 day a week bouncing up to 50-75 net carbs also seems to help me avoid this feeling general muscle fatigue (I assume as I approach my VO2 max during exercise my body is dipping into glycogen stores [read: carbs] because ketosis doesn’t free up energy as quickly as metabolizing carbohydrates).

My weight loss plateaued around 200lbs for a longer period of time than I would have liked, though as of today I am 197.0lbs with my body fat at 26.9%.

My resting heart rate is consistently at 58bpm, where measured by the same device I was around 75bpm at the beginning of this diet.

I am interested to find out what my blood pressure is at, I have an appointment to donate blood in 2 weeks which should give me a pretty good idea. I will also be scheduling a Dr. Appointment soon to see if there is any improvement in A1C, Cholesterol, Creatinine (Kidney Function), and whatever the doctor recommends.

I do have a bit of mental fog compared to 20g of net carbs, though I have found that I can compensate for that bit of mental fog by drinking coffee or tea. I haven’t found the time to roast coffee lately so I have resorted to the Four Sigmatic Lions Mane Mushroom Coffee. I have found that this has a different neurological effect compared to straight caffeine. While in moderate nutritional ketosis coupled with the Lion’s Mane Coffee, I feel like I am in deep nutritional ketosis.

I have been trying to start to incorporating more Broccoli and experimenting with sprouting Broccoli to add the Sulforaphane compound to my diet, which may help reduce the risk of cancer and if pop-science is to be believed it is a panacea for all ailments. I am not convinced it is a panacea, but I am convinced that getting more dietary fiber from sources outside of nuts is probably a good idea for gut health.

At this point nutritional ketosis has taught me is that dietary fat is NOT bad, and that added sugar and processed carbs are terrible.


Visiting Fall Lake Campground (Ely, Minnesota) in early May Thu, 01 Jun 2017 02:59:32 +0000 At the beginning of May 2017 I visited Fall Lake Campground near Ely, Minnesota with my 3.5 year old son Jackson.

Day 1 (Thursday)

We left Hopkins, Minnesota around 930am with the intent of visiting the K&B drive in near Eveleth, Minnesota for lunch; Unfortunately we found the drive in totally leveled when we got to Eveleth, later I learned that the Drive In burnt down late in 2016 (pic below).

K&B Drive In, Near Eveleth Minnesota

K&B Drive In, Near Eveleth Minnesota

My son enjoyed the drive through Eveleth, Virginia and the various other mining towns on the way to Ely, Minnesota; as they are full of heavy machinery (excavators, heavy trucks, back hoe diggers, et al).

Once we arrived in Ely, Minnesota we ate at the Boathouse Brew Pub, we were the only people in there other than the staff. It was a great meal.

We then proceeded to Fall Lake campground, we found the front office building locked and looking through the window I saw that there was –nothing– was in the building. I then noticed on the cork board near the entrance to the front office building had my last name “Merrill” written on a piece of paper (pic below).

Picture on the cork board at the Fall Lake campground front office

Picture on the cork board at the Fall Lake campground front office

I grabbed the piece of paper and proceeded to our campsite (#21).

The campsite is at the end of the loop in an loop that seems to be mostly dedicated to tent camping (small parking pads, steps down to the tent pad). Because the campsite was on a spur off of the loop, this campsite might even be great when camping in the summer with kids as there is no traffic that drives in front of the campsite. Also, it turns out that this campsite is near the play structure that is on the shore of Fall Lake.

My son and I hung out during our down time in the evening and explored the campground, the gentleman that was maintaining the campground stopped by and said hi later in the evening.

We setup our tent and cooked dinner, we were in bed as the sun set. I did not setup my Seek Outside titanium stove on this trip as I was worried about my son burning himself on the stove (he is not very steady on his feet at times, and he is 3.5 years old). I instead used a Mr Heater Big Buddy propane heater in the morning to heat up the tent before we got out of our sleeping bags and to begin the drying out of the tent in an effort to reduce the cumulative amount of condensation on the tent.

Seek Outside 8p Tipi setup at Fall Lake campground campsite #21

Seek Outside 8p Tipi setup at Fall Lake campground campsite #21

To keep warm my son slept in the Military’s 3 piece BDU sleep system, I slept in a 20 degree Thermarest bag with a the gortex bivvy bag from the BDU sleep system, we used ground cloths under our Thermarest pads (we each used a foam pad coupled with a Thermarest base camp sleeping pad).

Jack inside of his BDU sleep system

Jack inside of his BDU sleep system

We read a handful of books and my son fell asleep, I listened to a couple of chapters of “Ready Player One” before I fell asleep.

Pic at the end of day 1, May 2016, Fall Lake Campground

Pic at the end of day 1, May 2016, Fall Lake Campground


 Pic at the end of day 1, May 2016, Fall Lake Campground

Pic at the end of day 1, May 2016, Fall Lake Campground

Day 2 (Friday)

On Friday we awoke to quite a bit of condensation covering most of the interior of the tent, our bivvy bags (all of our sleep system was totally dry). We made a simple breakfast, and given it was still pretty cold outside we went into Ely and visited the North American Bear Center.

I recommend visiting the NA Bear Center if you have a chance, the staff at the bear center was very friendly and took the time to show my son various things at the center. We even got to go “behind the scenes” and see Ted the bear get fed by the staff (pic below)

Ted the bear, at the North American Bear Center

Ted the bear, at the North American Bear Center

My son and I went back into town after eating lunch and playing at the playground for a while to visit the International Wolf Center, this was an interesting place to visit and there was quite a bit of nostalgia associated with visiting this for me as all I wanted to do when I was in 3rd(ish) grade was to visit the wolf center; what I also remember about visiting the wolf center as a kid was that it was pretty disappointing (I don’t think we saw the wolves inside the enclosure and there is a single large exhibit room with 1 or 2 other exhibit rooms). I still found it fun to visit and my son enjoyed the kids room at the building, he played there for quite a while.

Jackson making lunch

Jackson making lunch


Jackson at the international wolf center in Ely Minnesota

Jackson at the international wolf center in Ely Minnesota

The International Wolf Center

The International Wolf Center

We visited a couple of stores while we were in town, got a gift for my daughter and wife and then had dinner back at our campsite.

We went to bed before the sun started to set, and read books again. Once my son was asleep, I listened to a couple more chapters of “Ready Player One”.

Sunset on Friday at Fall Lake Campground

Sunset on Friday at Fall Lake Campground

Jackson ready for bed while camping

Jackson ready for bed while camping

Day 3 (Saturday)

Saturday morning we were pretty lazy about getting going, my son played next to the campsite while I made breakfast. We played at the playground at Fall Lake campground and worked on drying out the inside of our tent as there was quite a bit of condensation (there was a brief thunderstorm on Friday that caused extra moisture to condensate on the inside of the tent.

Jack pretended to be a plane with the drying ground cloths.

Jackson pretending to be a plane

Jackson pretending to be a plane

We visited Kawishiwi Falls, the hike is easy for an adult — not so easy for a toddler on foot. After visiting the falls my son was pretty tired, he fell asleep in the truck and I ventured up Echo Trail to scope out properties up there.

Jackson at Kawishiwi Falls

Jackson at Kawishiwi Falls


Kawishiwi Falls

Kawishiwi Falls

After grabbing lunch in town, we came back to the campsite and hung out for a while, my son fell back asleep in the truck. After taking a look at the forecasted temps for the following morning I made the call to start packing up — we got back home at about 9pm.

Last pic of the campsite before tear down

Last pic of the campsite before tear down

Day 4 (Sunday)

As we bailed on Saturday, we did not stay on Sunday. Our original plan was to stay through Saturday night and then pack up Sunday morning and head home. With the Sunday morning temps being foretasted at 28ºF the condensation in our tent would have been significant, my son seemed exceptionally tired at the end of Day 3 leading me to feel like he would not really enjoy packing up Sunday morning — with the bailing on Saturday when he was tired he was able to sleep most of the way home back to Hopkins (4.5 hour drive).


I would make a trip again at this time of year. Spending uninterrupted time with my kind was exceptionally fun and I believe is some of the most valuable time that I can spend with my kids. My wife and I learned a bit more about both of our kids (how they act when they are not around each other). Traveling to northern Minnesota before the fishing opener meant that we had the campground nearly all to ourselves; and Fall Lake was exceptionally quiet (motorboats are allowed on Fall Lake).

Quite a few people lie to themselves saying that the quality of the time that they spend with their kids is more important than the quantity of time. I believe that both quality (e.g. fancy trips to Disney Land, special dinners, special activities) and quantity of time both matter, and uninterrupted time at length with your kid is the best kind of quality time you can have with your kids.

Camping in early May \ late April brings the risk of campsites being muddy, snow still on the ground, and guaranteed chilly weather; balanced against zero noise, nearly empty campground, and no bugs I feel like it is worth making the bet to visit northern Minnesota during this time of year.

The Fall Lake campground is well maintained, and the bathrooms are always clean.

10 out of 10, would do it again.

Breaking below 200lbs, and continued keto rash mitigation Sat, 20 May 2017 13:23:26 +0000 Breaking below 200lbs was one of the most exciting points of this diet so far, I have weighed above 200lbs for somewhere between 5 and 6 years.

I have found that I can continue to mitigate the occurrence of the keto rash by cycling throughout the week where I have a around 3 days of 20net carbs and then averaging the bulk of the days around 30 to 40 net carbs. As long as those carbs are not ‘stupid carbs’ (i.e. processed carbohydrates, added sugar, et al) but rather, ‘slow carbs’ (i.e. beans, green vegetables, avocados, et al) I can maintain a some ketones in my urine (15/mg dl) and dip into deeper ketosis (80/mg dl) on the 20net carb days.

At this point I do not think that the 20net carb ketosis diet is something that should be maintained long term for weight loss; my current reasoning is that it is nearly impossible to get all the micro nutrients that a body needs to be healthy long term. Recently, Dr. Rhonda Patrick appeared on Tim Ferriss’s podcast where she covered some of the benefits of various micro nutrients (Sulforaphane, isothiocyanates, choline) and the effect that they have on being healthy long term in the episode titled: “Exploring Smart Drugs, Fasting, and Fat Loss — Dr. Rhonda Patrick“. Also a long term lack of fiber in the diet will cause decline in the gut microbiome, which will in turn lead to a decline in health over the long term.

I am expecting that my diet will shift to more vegetable heavy this summer as we subscribe to a CSA from early summer to mid winter (Featherstone Farm). That might result in some experiments with smoothies (made with a blender and not with a juicer, to maintain the fiber from the vegetables.

Review: Seek Outside 8P Tipi w\ XL Wood Stove & Liner Wed, 10 May 2017 21:44:53 +0000 Features:

Tent Material

  • The tent is made of a Cordura spec Ultralight silicone impregnated 30 Denier ripstop nylon with a Hydrostatic Head rating of 3000 MM. Strong and Light, this is a high performance fabric.
  • Tent Material Commentary: I don’t know a ton about nylon fabrics but, the feel of this fabric is really nice, really slippery, really light, but when put under tension it doesn’t seem to stretch too much.
Seek Outside 8P Tipi (Coyote Brown)

Seek Outside 8P Tipi (Coyote Brown)

Sod Skirt

  • This is an extra bit of fabric below the stake out points that helps prevent snow, wind, bugs, and rain ingress into the tent.
  • Sod Skirt Commentary: This is a necessary feature for the floorless style Tipi; the one annoyance I have with the sod skirt is that when camping in lower temperatures where condensation is an issue, water puddles up on the sod skirt increasing the time to dry.

Dual Doors with Storm Flaps

  • The two doors are a very nice feature on this tent; the storm flaps are are made of a Cordura material.
  • Dual Door Commentary: The doors are full length from the cone to the sod skirt of the Tipi. If the Tipi is pitched too wide you will have some issues opening and closing the doors fully from the interior of the tent without laying down on the ground and grabbing the zipper.

Mesh Vent

  • This is a mesh vent that allows some heat to escape the tent and allows air to enter into the tent when operating the wood stove.
  • There is a flexible wire piece to allow for the vent to be adjustable and a  rope with toggle to allow the vent to be cranked down closed.
  • Single Peak Vent Commentary: This is a nice feature and is well executed, but this alone does not provide enough ventilation in temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, the tent becomes uncomfortably warm.

Ultra Robust Tie Outs

  • Each of the points where the tie outs meet the tent are made of Cordura and are attached perfectly to the tent; they hold up under quite a bit of tension. With no indication that they might fail.

Stove Jack / Port with rain Flap

  • This is the high temperature fabric that allows the stove pipe to pass through the tent without burning the tent.

Side Guy Outs

  • Guy Outs allow the tent to be pulled out increasing the interior space (significantly)
  • They allow the tent to be stabilized in high wind situations
  • It allows the tent to be pitched with a smaller footprint by staking the tent down at the ground with the side guy out loops.
  • Side Guy Out Commentary: I have placed

20 Aluminum Stakes

  • These are basically a low quality version of the MSR Groundhog stakes; these need to be replaced if you are camping in the snow, on rocky ground, or soft ground.
  • Aluminum Stake Commentary: These stakes bend easily, they are relatively small compared to the size of the tent, it is easily for the tent to lift off of the stakes. They work great in ideal ground situations (like the front yard), they work poorly where I normally camp (North Shore, BWCA, MN State Campgrounds)

Aluminum Center Pole

  • The only pole needed for pitching a Tipi tent, this is the pole that holds up the center of the tent.
  • Aluminum Center Pole Commentary: The center pole is very rigid and is easy to size appropriately to the pitch of the tent. I wish there was a feature part of the Center Pole that allowed for hangers to be hung from the pole easily (to dry gloves, hang up candle lantern, …)

8P Tent Liner

  • The tent liner is a white piece of silnylon fabric that creates dead air space between the Tipi exterior and the interior of the tipi, a liner covers half of the tent. The tent liner is very light and can easily store within the bag.
  • Aluminum Center Pole Commentary: This seems to be well executed, but I have not tried to install this within the tent yet; I have tried installing the liner twice and have gotten frustrated with attaching the adjustable cord locks to the internal stake out points.

Stuff Sacks (tent, liner, pole and stakes)

  • Well executed, made of the same ultralight ultrastrong material that the tent is made of.

Seek Outside Extra Large (XL) Titanium Stove

  • This thing is amazing, it packs flat and is made of titanium sheet metal. I have not had any issues with it leaking smoke from around the seams where the sheet metal meets for form the box. 4 threaded rods are used to assemble the Titanium stove.

Titanium Stove Pipe

  • Ultralight (18oz) rolls up into something that is about half the size of a paper towel roll.
  • There are some rings that are made of a cable material (I think Titanium) that are used to keep the pipe in the shape of a stove pipe.
  • Titanium Stove Pipe Commentary: The initial forming of this stove sheet metal stove pipe into the shape of a stove pipe takes a bit of work. Burn this stove pipe in at least twice before using it in the field. Once the pipe is burnt in, I have found that there are no issues with smoke leaking through the seam of the pipe (that extends fully vertically from the stove to the top of the pipe).
Inside of the Seek Outside 8P Tent

Inside of the Seek Outside 8P Tent

Target Uses:

  • Winter Camping
  • Early Spring
  • Late Fall
  • Hunting Season
  • Group Hiking
  • Group Pulk Sled Expedition Camping

Unfair Advantage:

This Seek Outside 8p Tipi Tent has an amazing construction quality; it is made in the USA. Seek Outside makes a great product, there are no loose seams, miss placed stitches, or defects in the quality of the material used.

This tent sets up easily (I’d suggest practicing a couple of times before trying to set this up in the field; understanding the set backs takes a bit of work and experience).


  • Price

    • 8P Tipi (Standalone)
      • $919
    • XL Stove (Standalone)
      • $445
    • 8P Liner (Standalone)
      • $165
    • 8 Person Tipi – XL Stove – Half Liner Bundle
      • $1,500
        • ($29 Savings)
  • Where to buy

  • Specifications

    • No Screens Canopy 72oz/2.04 kg, Complete with Aluminum Pole 117 oz /3.31 kg , Complete with Carbon Pole 107 oz/3.03 kg
    • With Screens Canopy 83 oz/2.35 kg,  Complete with Aluminum Pole 128 oz/3.63 kg, Complete with Carbon Pole 118 oz/3.34 kg
    • Half liner 16 oz
    • Extra Large Stove 50 oz+18oz of stove pipe
    • Maximum weight: 212 oz/6.01 kg, Minimum weight: 191 oz/5.41 kg


  • Kifaru Tipi

    • Pros: This is the only real alternative to this Seek Outside 8P tipi tent. They are very similar and from what I understand these tents are made by an individual that worked with the person that currently runs the Seek Outside company.
    • Cons: For a similar setup as the Seek Outside tent combination outlined above, these tents seem to run about $350 more
  • Sportsman Guide Tipi

    • Pros: Cost, these are a fraction of the cost (depending on the specific model their Tipis range from $180 to $220)
    • Cons: Poor construction quality, no stove jack pre installed, heavy, windows will need replacing as they do not hold up in cold weather. They are made in China.

Final Thoughts:

I love this tent, it is built for a very specific set of use cases and use locations; this is not a great tent for camping the middle of summer with the family (Though it could be adapted with one of Seek Outside’s “nests”, and possibly having screen doors included (or pitching it with the nest and the door open).

These tents are made in the USA.

Like any other tent you do not want to pitch this at the bottom of a hill (as there is no floor, water will readily invade the tent).


Review: National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Tue, 09 May 2017 22:28:04 +0000 I recently took the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course at the REI in Bloomington, Minnesota.

In Short: It was a great experience and I would recommend anyone take it.

Cost: $225

Length: 16 Hours — Saturday & Sunday 9am to 6pm (w/ 1 hour lunch break each day)

The class was taught by 2 individuals that have worked with NOLS in varying capacities for years. Greg currently working for REI, teaching NOLS classes, and occasionally doing EMT work for adventure races from what I gathered; he previously was a evacuation supervisor for an entire region of NOLS’s classes. Peggy was currently a college level biology instructor and previously worked with NOLS as a trip leader & guide.

The class focused heavy on getting “hand on” experience with triaging patients in the field via NOLS’s patient assessment program (PAS Triangle, image inserted below) — which seems to be a variation of the patient assessment practice that medical professionals use.


NOLS PAS Triangle

NOLS PAS Triangle

I’d say about a quarter of the class was spent learning how to assess patients, half of the class was spent going through specific scenarios and how to respond to those scenarios, with the balance of the class spent in scenario based role playing learning and improvising various treatment methods, and there were a handful of demonstrations too.

The primary topics of the lectures that the teachers delivered were:

  • Patient Assessment System
  • Initial Assessment Patient Exam
  • Vital Signs
  • Focused History Documentation
  • Spine Injury Management
  • Head Injuries
  • Shock
  • Wilderness Wound Management
  • Focused Spine Assessment
  • Athletic Injuries
  • Fractures
  • Dislocations
  • Heat
  • Cold Injuries
  • Lightning
  • Altitude Illness
  • The Unresponsive Patient
  • Acute Abdomen
  • Anaphylaxis

While there were no prerequisites for this class, personally I wish I would have went into this class with the basic first aid class from the Red Cross, CPR, and AED training just to have a base knowledge of medical terminology in this space. I feel like having a base understanding of medical terminology would have allowed me to extract more value out of this class. Though having a base understanding of Medical terms is not necessary to get value out of the class, it would have been helpful.

I had a great experience at this class and belive it was worth the cost and time to go through this training. I am interested in taking their Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA) course, and possibly their Wilderness First Responder (WFR) class.

Note: NOLS publishes a free SOAP note application on the Android and iPhone app stores that walks you through the PAS triangle and then pass that note off the medical professionals.

Ketosis Update & Keto Rash Tue, 09 May 2017 21:03:55 +0000 As of today I have lost 21.1 pounds using nutritional ketosis; my rate of weight loss has slowed down as of recent, due to a rash that showed up on my upper chest and lower back to shoulder blades. The rash first presented sometime around April 19th in the center of my chest, of which I attributed to allergies or some sort of irritant in my clothing. The rash then began to present on my back around April 23rd of which I then also attributed the rash to allergies as I had taken the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Wilderness First Aid (WFA) class at REI in Bloomington and figured it related to laying on the ground for extended periods on both that Saturday and Sunday as part of some scenario based first aid learning.

I asked my cousin about the rash around April 25th, in a bit of a panic as it at that point it looked something like Measles to my untrained eyes (minus the rash on the face that is normally associated with Measles) — which made me especially paranoid due to the recent breakout of Measles in Minnesota. With some of the diagnosed patients being present at the same Clinic my kids go to 24 hours prior to when we visited the clinic.

It turns out that some small subset of people are sensitive to [something] during nutritional ketosis causing a rash; I am one of those people (…turns out my cousin is to, but to a lesser degree).

Personally, I suspect the rash that I got from the ketosis is a function of ketone bodies (specifically: acetone) accumulating in the sweat and then irritating the skin. Others believe a wide range of things from a bacterial imbalance, a microbiome imbalance, fungus, “toxins” escaping from adipose tissue, et al.

At its worst the rash looked something like a mid dermal partial thickness burn covering 8% of my body; and behaved similar to a superficial burn. My shirt would stick to the rash as it healed, similar to how a would dressing my stick to a burn.

I exited Ketosis around April 27 to begin resolving the issue by eating tons of bananas and apples, and then maintained a low level of ketosis for the following days. I also took 3-4 showers a day to make sure my skin was staying clear of any irritants (acetone) that could build up from being in deep ketosis the prior week(s).

As of May 7th, I am experimenting with re-entering ketosis but, rather than following the “20 grams net carb” rule, I am attempting to work out what ratio of carbs to estimated caloric output keeps me in the optimal band of experiencing the mental clarity & weight loss benefits of ketosis while avoiding the keto rash.

Nutritional Ketosis: What foods have I been eating for the last 4 weeks? Sun, 16 Apr 2017 01:14:57 +0000 There have been 5 foods that I have been eating a-lot of since moving over to a state of nutritional ketosis, those foods are:

  1. Eggs
  2. Sardines 
  3. Premier Protein Shakes
  4. Babybel Cheese
  5. Kirkland Protein Bars

One of the biggest defects with my current diet is that I have put my protein on “auto pilot” for the most part, causing me to average higher than I would like with my protein. I am targeting 70% fat, 15% protein, 5% carbs, in practice I have been doing something like 50% fat, 45% protein, 5% carbs.

I need to work on getting more fat in my diet, BUT the above foods have helped me make this diet easy to maintain. I am working to incorporate ghee and coconut oil into my diet to get more of my fats on autopilot.

What were those sardines that Tim Ferriss mentioned on the podcast? Sun, 16 Apr 2017 01:00:01 +0000 Question: What were those sardines that Tim Ferriss mentioned on the podcast?

Answer: Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Lemon


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Maintaining Ketosis While Camping Sat, 15 Apr 2017 15:27:37 +0000 Last weekend I went on a camping trip to the North Shore; for me it was primarily a “shake down” trip for new camping gear and experimenting with maintaining nutritional ketosis on a camping trip.

In short, I was successful. I emerged from the camping trip in a deeper state of ketosis than when I entered into the trip (based on keto stix). I could have been slightly dehydrated causing the keto stix to read a higher concentration of ketones, but at any rate I have never seen the stix turn to the darkest color possible before.

How did I do that?

Lots of cheese, some fish, limiting carbs. To get the cheese and fish we stopped off at Russ Kendall’s smokehouse.

For a base camping trip like this trip to Tettegouche carrying in cheese and fish works great. For a longer hiking trip with continuous high exertion, carrying in enough fat would be difficult; I think for a lighter weight meal plan for hiking I would look to use more Mountain House (lots of carbs) and then supplement my fat intake with powdered MCT oils, nut butters, and other more natural oils (coconut oil, olive oil, ….) — I will have to experiment with powdered MCT oils and to see what is the best/lightest system for hiking.

  • Friday, April 7, 2017 (My Fitnesspal Diary Link)
    • Exercise:
      • Summary: Spent 4 hours in the car, cart in gear to campsite, setup campsite, firewood processing, a small bit of exploring around the baptism river and Tettegouche state park
      • Fitbit Metrics:
        • Steps: 19,096
        • 8.93 Miles
        • Cals Burnt: 4,234
        • 94 Active Mins
        • 52 Floors
    • Breakfast:
      • Schiff – Megared Krill Oil, 600 mg
      • Kirkland Signature – Chewable Vitamin C (500mg), 2 Tablet
      • 5 Eggs
      • Tillamook – Cheddar Cheese – Medium, 50 gram
    • Lunch
      • North Country Cheese – buffalo wing monteray jack, 4 oz
      • Kirkland Signature – Roasted and Salted Extra Crunchy Peanuts, 1.6 oz. (45 g)
    • Dinner
      • Smoked King Salmon, 6 oz
      • North Country Cheese – buffalo wing monteray jack, 3 oz
    • Snacks
      • North Country Cheese – buffalo wing monteray jack, 1 oz
      • Peanut Butter- Skippy – Extra Crunchy, 2 tbsp
    • Water: 4 Liters
  • Saturday, April 8, 2017 (Myfitnesspal Diary Link)
    • Summary: Moderate bits of hiking; probably hit my VO2max a couple times and immediately rested or backed down to less intense exercise,
      • Fitbit Metrics:
        • Steps: 24,654
        • 11.47 Miles
        • Cals Burnt: 4,678
        • 157 Active Mins
        • 104 Floors
    • Breakfast:
      • Mountain House – Biscuits and Gravy, Freeze Dried, 2 cup
        • Comments: I love this stuff, though I think this meal is only approrpaite on days with high exertion; on a normal day this many carbs probably would throw me out of ketosis)
      • Schiff – Megared Krill Oil, 600 mg
      • Kirkland Signature – Chewable Vitamin C (500mg), 2 Tablet
    • Lunch:
      • Sven & Ole’s in Grand Marias
        • Usda – Beef, Prime Rib, 1 oz
        • Mayonnaise, 14 milliliter
        • Beef Broth, 0.25 cup
        • Cold Slaw, 1 cup
        • Pretzel Bun, 0.5 bun
    • Dinner:
      • (see snacks)
    • Snacks:
      • Premier Protein – Chocolate, 325 ml
      • Bent Paddle Brewing Co. – Bent Hop – Golden Ipa, 24 oz
      • Smoked King Salmon, 3 oz
    • Water:
      • 3 Liters
        • This seems exceptionally low to me, I suspect I didn’t log all of my water that I took in between hikes.
  • Sunday, April 9, 2017 (My Fitnesspal Diary Link)
    • Summary: Tear down campsite, cart out gear, 3.5 hour drive back to the cities
    • Breakfast:
      • Skippy – Creamy Peanut Butter, 3.19 ounce
      • Schiff – Megared Krill Oil, 600 mg
      • Kirkland Signature – Chewable Vitamin C (500mg), 2 Tablets
    • Lunch:
      • No Lunch
    • Dinner:
      • Jimmy Dean – Turkey Sausage Links, 4 cooked links
      • Premier Protein – Chocolate, 325 ml
    • Snacks:
      • cheese – Curds, 4.5 oz
      • Beef Jerky (Home Made), 28 g
      • Fresh Rhubarb Pie, 1/8 pie
        • Went to Betty’s Pies, a destination on the north shore, known for their amazing pies.
    • Water: 3 Liters
How I Make My Sourdough Sat, 01 Apr 2017 11:56:10 +0000 Anyone that is connected with me on Facebook or Instagram has likely seen the pictures of Sourdough bread that I post a couple times a week. I’ll go into the gear that I use for baking bread in a future post and how to get started with Sourdough bread.

You will need:

  • Sourdough starter
  • Kitchen scale
  • Covered baking vessel (I use cast iron dutch oven)
  • A dough knife
  • Proofing bucket or larger container (I use a 10L foodgrade container)
  • A forming basket (optional)
  • Rice flour or corn meal (optional)
  • A bread lahm, or razor, or very sharp knife
  • A cooling rack
  • Flour, Water, Salt

The best flour I have found for making Sourdough is King Arthur’s unbleached bread flour. There is a high gluten content in this flour that allows for the bread to hold together as it is fermenting and then formed, the higher protein content also translates into a more controlled fermentation of the sourdough, as some of the lower end flours (ultragrain) seem to have a carbohydrate composition that causes the fermentation to go too rapid and produce too much hooch, compared to nice flavor you get from a natural balance of the acetic acid (vinegar taste) and lactic acid (yogurt taste).

The following is my base methodology and was derived from the book Tartine bread by Chad Robertson.

  1. Take 650g of water and put it into a mixing bowl
    • Also, take about 50g of sourdough starter
    • 20g of salt
  2. Mix the starter and salt into the water, mix until mostly a consistent liquid with few pockets of starter
  3. Progressively add 1000g of flour to to the mix until totally consistent
    • Depending on the starter and temperature of the house, additional flour may be needed. As a guideline too much hydration and you will not be able to form your bread, too little hydration and the bread will not develop a nice air pockets and a crispy crust on the outside. Chad Robertson suggests 75% hydration or 750g of water to 1000g of flour.
  4. Ferment in a large container for 12 to 24 hours (I usually do this on top of the refrigerator, in a 10L bucket)
  5. Form the loaf my rolling the outside of the bread under while scraping under the dough to create surface tension (see this video starting at 2:35)
  6. Flour the basket’s linen liner and place the bread top down
    • If you do not have a basket allow the bread to rest covered with a towel on the work surface
  7. Preheat the over to 550f with the dutch oven in the oven, allow this to heat for 30mins (at least)
  8. Once preheated carefully remove the dutch oven from the oven sprinkle rice flour (or regular flour, or corn meal) on the bottom of the pan
  9. Dump the the dough out of the proofing into the dutch oven, return the cover and place in the oven
  10. Score the top of the bread with the lahm (or razor, or sharp knife)
  11. Bake for 30 minutes covered at 550f, remove cover
  12. Bake for 20 minutes uncovered at 450f
  13. Once complete baking is complete remove the bread from the dutch oven and onto a cooling rack
2 weeks on the Slow Carb Diet (or Keto …whatever) Sat, 01 Apr 2017 02:13:53 +0000 I have now spent 2 weeks in a state of nutritional ketosis.

How is it going? In short, great.

My need/desire for stimulants (caffeine & energy drinks) has been gone since I became fat adapted on Sunday the 19th.

My net mental state seems to have leveled off to something better than it was before being in a state of nutritional ketosis but, not the same euphoria the I experienced for the first couple days of being fat adapted.

The ritual of tracking all of my meals in myfitnesspal alone likely causes me to be more mindful about what I am putting into my body and what I should be putting into my body (water).

I continue to bounce between the “slow carb” rules and the more keto rules; this likely has disadvantaged the speed of my weight loss but, I like experimenting with what I am eating.

New Gear:

I was able to pick up a Fitbit Aria for $20 out of my pocket after I got 20% off and along with my co-op member rewards. This has made the logging of my weight more accurate then the old scale that I have been using for 10+ years and I now have an additional metric to track, Body Fat %.

On Exercise:

Saturday the 25th and Sunday the 26th of this week I went for what I call a “run walk jog” on both days for 2 hours both days. This is not something that I could have done while my body was burning glycogen because my muscles would be “feeling the burn” far too much due to the normal build up of lactic acid, also I am totally out of shape and I “feel the burn” far to early in a workout as intense as sustaining 135bpm average on Saturday and 146bpm on Sunday with my peak cardio in the bouncing around 180 for 45mins on each run.  What I am trying to say for someone in the current shape that I am in, I should be hurting after exercise like that. What I found was that I did not “feel the burn” while exercising both days which allowed me to be more comfortable while exercising and push myself further (…than I should have pushed myself).

I am not a chemist, BUT I am about to play one on the internet… but after being perplexed by why I could run for such an extended period without feeling any burning in my muscles I stumbled across this video of a talk by Peter Attia.

It turns out that the accumulation of lactic acid which causes the sensation of “burning” when exercising is a product of the conversion of glycogen into pyruvate which is then converted into Acetyl CoA which then frees up 2 units of ATP, ATP feeds the Krebs Cycle; there is insufficient cellular O2 to allow this process to work without causing the creation of Lactic acid.

The above process is inefficient compared to the conversion of ketone bodies directly into Acetyl CoA which frees up 34 ATP that then feeds the Krebs Cycle.

The following graphic from Peter Attia’s eating institute explains the reason that lactic acid doesn’t accumulate while burning ketones,

Image result for peter attia glucose

Ironically, I ended up slightly injuring my left ankle from exerting myself like this, because I didn’t slow down because of the “burn” from the lactic acid accumulation.

1 week on the Ketogenic Diet (…or slow carb, whatever.) Sat, 25 Mar 2017 13:35:09 +0000  

Today, I have been on the ketogenic diet for 8 days, I have been fat adapted for 6 days.

I have always wanted to try to go on the ketogenic diet or the slow carb diet because I have heard Tim Ferriss sing its praises from his book 4-Hour Body and on his 4-Hour Work Week podcast. I have tried to go on a ketogenic type diet multiple times and each time I end up stopping it before I become fat adapted because I feel like garbage.

  • On 1/31/2017 had a biometric screening and found the following.
    • Glucose:
      • My A1C was at 5.7% puts me at higher risk of developing diabetes within years
      • Fasting glucose: 95mg/dl
    • Weight:
      • My weight was 225lbs at the time of the biometric screening, putting my BMI at 30.4
    • Cholesterol:
      • Total Cholesterol: 200mg/dl
        • HDL: 47mg/dl
        • LDL: 126mg/dl
        • Triglicerides: 134mg/dl
    • Blood pressure:
      • Systolic: 114mmHG
      • Diastolic: 80mmHG
  • Resting heart rate (per Fitbit):
    • 67bpm

At the beginning of the Ketogenic diet (3/17/2017):

  • My weight was at 220lbs
  • Resting heart rate: 70bpm

The rules of the diet I am following probably align more with the “slow carb” diet:

Follow these rules if you want to lose weight on the Slow-Carb Diet:

  • Stick to Slow-Carb Diet approved foods 6 days a week.
    • Lean meat, beans, and veggies and no white foods like sugar, pasta, rice, bread, cheese.
  • Eat the same few meals over and over again.
  • Don’t drink calories.
  • Start your day with protein
    • Shooting for 30g within 30 minutes of waking (boosts success rate by 11%).
  • Don’t eat fruit
    • Tomatoes and avocados are allowed in moderation.
  • Take one “cheat day” a week

(source for the above rules)

What has happened so far:

Day 1: 
(March 17th)

  • Nothing really happened on Day 1
  • Increased my water consumption to 3.2L
  • Did not track my food
    • Had a Reuben Sandwich for Dinner (Saint Patrick’s Day), with Bread

Day 2:
(March 18th)

  • Felt Good
  • 6.9L of Water
    • Drink a-lot of water while your body is switching over to being fat adapted
  • Began tracking my food in FitBit:
    • Sardines for Breakfast; Along with: 2 Slices of Bacon, 1 Egg with Cheese, Vitamin C, and MegaRed Krill Oil
    • Cheeses and meat throughout the day

Day 3:
(March 19th)

  • Felt Good in the morning, went to bed feeling like shit
  • 4.2L of Water
  • Some ketones showing in my urine
  • Began tracking my food in MyFitnessPal
  • Took 2 Motrins before bed, slept great
  • My Cousin (Amber) began helping me on this journey — of which I am very grateful.

Day 4
(March 20th)

Day 5 to Day 8
March (21 to 25)

  • This whole week I have felt amazing, nearly euphoric levels of energy
  • I am shooting for above 4L of water a day
    • 1.5L of water within the first hour of the day
  • I have been running about a net 2,000 calorie deficit when factoring in my activity, estimated base metabolic rate, and calorie intake
  • Link to the most recent page of my food diary
  • My cousin Amber and I touch base at least once in the evening with our myfitness pal macro stats via SnapChat
Idea Generation Notebook Page from 9-18-2016 Sun, 23 Oct 2016 20:32:29 +0000 I have committed to myself to post my idea generation notebook pages each day to this blog. Most of the ideas that get posted here will probably be dumb, lame, infeasible, impractical, or an idea that I was unaware that someone else already thought of.

  1. Coffee Shoppe
    1. Starbucks or Caribou
    2. Coffee shoppe with onsite roaster
    3. Deli with Coffee
  2. Jewish Deli
  3. BBQ Shoppe
  4. Butcher Shoppe
  5. A While Foods
  6. Bike Shop or Skateboard Shop
    1. Ski and Snowboard Shop
  7. Paddle sports Shop
  8. Bait Store
  9. German Grocery
  10. Permanent Farmers Market
  11. Paint Pub
  12. Raspberry Gift Shop
  13. Plant Store (Urban Farm)
  14. Hydroponic Store
  15. Camera Store
  16. Sex Shop
  17. Organized Hardware Store
  18. Maker Space
    1. In the old motorcycle shop
    2. In the old mainstreet storefront where they used to build gocarts
Idea Generation Notebook Page from 9-17-2016 Sat, 22 Oct 2016 20:32:03 +0000 Unfortunately, I have decided not to post the idea generation page from 9-17-2016 as it contained some brainstorming I did around another person’s career pathing.

Idea Generation Notebook Page from 9-16-2016 Sat, 22 Oct 2016 20:28:42 +0000 I have committed to myself to post my idea generation notebook pages each day to this blog. Most of the ideas that get posted here will probably be dumb, lame, infeasible, impractical, or an idea that I was unaware that someone else already thought of.

Jack Trips – 10 Ideas – 9-16-2016

  1. 8-12 years old Fall Lake Entry Point into the BWCA
  2. Younger than 8-12 Stay in BWCA on Fall Lake
  3. Out of Diapers before ready to go into BWCA stay at Fall Lake
  4. After Diapers but before BWCA
    1. Hogback Lake
  5. 8-12 Years Old Winter Camping
  6. Older, Hike the SHT (Superior Hiking Trail)
  7. 10-ish Hike The Sioux Hustler
  8. Older, Sections of the AT
  9. Older, Sections of the PCT
  10. Older, Border Route Trail

Both Kids

  1. Winter Camping
  2. Road Trips
  3. Cable Wisconsin
  4. Yosemite
  5. Glacier National Park
  6. Yellowstone
  7. Grand Portage
  8. Voyagers National Park
  9. Superior National Forest
Idea Generation Notebook Page from 9-15-2016 Mon, 10 Oct 2016 17:58:25 +0000 I have committed to myself to post my idea generation notebook pages each day to this blog. Most of the ideas that get posted here will probably be dumb, lame, infeasible, impractical, or an idea that I was unaware that someone else already thought of.

10 Ideas 9-15-2016

  1. A container app that consolidates all two factor authentication methods (Google. Facebook, RSA SecurID, Banks, …)
  2. An Intranet \ Internet site that WYSIWYG modularly clips tools together
  3. Multi sim card phones in USA w\ parallel unique hardware (i.e. two separate phones in one device one on CDMA one on GSM)
  4. Community STEM programming classes in Minnesota for Girls
  5. A smartphone with SPOT (Delorme InReach) technology
  6. Pre-made modular vehicle for adventures and exploring but practical for commuting
  7. Native support in android for PDF, XLS, WORD (.doc) files
  8. Better way to edit spreadsheets in Android
  9. Cryptographicly secure identity and metrics that can be ported from job to job (increase trust by being able to carry performance metrics from company to company)
  10. Lighter warm clothes modular and comfortable to layer up
Idea Generation Notebook Page from 9-15-2016

Idea Generation Notebook Page from 9-15-2016

Idea Generation Notebook Page from 9-14-2016 Sun, 09 Oct 2016 17:57:31 +0000 I have committed to myself to post my idea generation notebook pages each day to this blog. Most of the ideas that get posted here will probably be dumb, lame, infeasible, impractical, or an idea that I was unaware that someone else already thought of.

10 Ideas 9-14-2016

  1. An easy way to create synthetic transactions (WYSIWIG) – to monitor website performance and emulate user interactions with a website or application/service
  2. An app that automatically discovers data and imports it into a dashboard
  3. Good toddler tablet apps with no advertising
  4. Micro transaction browser app integration to remove advertising
  5. Build and ‘Add to cart’ a help-desk (graphical interface) i.e. a website or service that a person could engage automatically with a help-desk service to get support for their iOS/Android/Windows apps /OR/ support for their product or site
  6. Web based interface to assemble and test Jelly Bean parts and ship from [Chinese/Offshore] manufacturer
  7. Consumer printer to print a Canoe in Garage
  8. Consumer EDM printer to print good knives
  9. Device to prevent digital transmissions
  10. A better Snapchat interface (more intuitive)
Idea Generation Notebook Page from 9-14-2016

Idea Generation Notebook Page from 9-14-2016

Idea Generation Notebook Page from 9-13-2016 Thu, 06 Oct 2016 21:59:02 +0000 I have committed to myself to post my idea generation notebook pages each day to this blog. Most of the ideas that get posted here will probably be dumb, lame, infeasible, impractical, or an idea that I was unaware that someone else already thought of.

10 Ideas: 9-13-2016

  1. Better free social media updating platform (like was)
  2. A way for phones to read and send RFID signals for badge cards
  3. Podcast client that stays in sync across all devices (on android)
  4. Modular trailer that can easily be customized (metalworking shop, woodworking shop, mechanics workshop, …)
  5. Canoe trailer company
  6. Canoe accessories (less expensive extra seats)
  7. Ethiopian Bible in English (Ethiopian Orthodox Bible)
  8. Managed service that you can “add to cart” an outsourced business
  9. More accurate GPS for paths
  10. Better AMZ Review trader (a site that functions similar to AMZ review trader with it’s storefront, but that has less errors and less scammers)
Idea Generation Notebook Page from 9-13-2016

Idea Generation Notebook Page from 9-13-2016

Idea Generation Notebook Page from 9-12-2016 Wed, 05 Oct 2016 21:56:16 +0000 I have committed to myself to post my idea generation notebook pages each day to this blog. Most of the ideas that get posted here will probably be dumb, lame, infeasible, impractical, or an idea that I was unaware that someone else already thought of.

This is the first page of that notebook.

10 Ideas: 9-12-2016

  1. BWCA Mailing List (eMail List)
  2. Minnesota Trails Mailing List (eMail List)
  3. Good GPX site for all Minnesota trails
  4. Well designed site about Enoch on WordPress with fresh content
  5. Podcast about Enoch
  6. Podcast about Minnesota trails with interviews
  7. YouTube videos about trail meals, gardening, BWCA, adventure
  8. Drone photography in Minnesota
  9. Drone footage following GPX routes like sound traveler
  10. “add to cart” for home improvement (e.g. Build a garage) and add to cart
Idea Generation Notebook Page from 9-12-2016

Idea Generation Notebook Page from 9-12-2016

minnesota to 
protest like Suit 
to cost for 

Idea Generation (10 Idea’s Per Day) Wed, 05 Oct 2016 21:34:57 +0000 I have heard James Altucher talk a couple of times about the practice of ‘Idea Generation‘.

Altucher  encourages people who want to strengthen their ‘idea muscle’ as he calls it is to write 10 ideas down every day in a small notepad (he suggests a waiter’s pad). Aultucher suggests that a person needs to practice this for 6 months before really becoming idea machines.

After hearing this suggestion to come up with 10 ideas per day on September 12th, 2016 and I have committed myself to doing this for at least 6 months.

After daily practice for close to a month now I have found…

  • My mind is more quiet at night (The Monkey Mind is Quiet)
  • There is less chatter in my brain throughout the day and I am able to focus on one task
    • In part this can aslo be credited to having good GTD systems in place for my primary workflows
  • I can come up with ideas on the spot more quickly in my work life and in my home life
  • I have been able to think more strategically about my own life, family, finances, and free time

My hope is that as my ‘idea muscle’ gets stronger I will be able to start adding value to my friends and family in new ways and eventually come up with a new business plan that I am confident in (I currently do not have any active ‘side hustle’ jobs outside of some passive income from YouTube).

I’ve decided going forward I will start posting Office Lens pictures of my idea generation notebook initially one post will go up daily though in the future I may batch my notes together on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis.

Thank-You for taking the time to read this,


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Amazon Reviewer Goals (AMZReviewTrader Strategy) Fri, 01 Jul 2016 11:01:49 +0000 The Goal: Is NOT to get more free ‘crap’ — The goal is to get free useful products that enhance my lifestyle.

The Goal: Is to receive products that enhance your life, and drive value to your life.

Some people try to maximize the amount of free stuff they receive from AMZReviewTrader and I totally understand the desire to maximize the amount of free stuff that you get (“Hey, it is FUN to get packages in the mail”). But, getting more free things that clutter your house and serve no purpose is NOT the goal — the goal is to get increasingly better things directly from manufacturers (example: Amazon Vine Voice Program).

To get products you actually want from manufacturers you need to make yourself available to be contacted directly by their marketing departments. I have worked with 5+ manufacturers and Amazon Sellers that have sent me awesome products Aukey and BicycleStore being 2 of the stores.

How do I make myself available for these contacts?

  • Funnel people to the intake channel you want them to engage you through, whether that be a separate email address that you use for your reviewing activities or your personal email address.
  • Personally, all of my social media funnels back to my page, where a marketer can then email me. Though, the majority of my contacts come from marketers stumbling across a review I wrote on amazon, and then finding my amazon profile page.

How do I control or direct marketers to what products I want?

  • Review products on Amazon that I am actually interested in that I received via AMZReviewTrader.
  • Review products on Amazon that I actually buy (every time).
  • I list product categories that interest me, in my amazon profile.
  • I list activities that interest me, in my amazon profile.

Are there other channels to get free stuff outside of AMZReviewTrader?

  • Create a YouTube channel that surrounds an activity that interests you, upload regularly and frequently; focus on making those videos discoverable via YouTube’s tagging interface and via descriptive titles and detailed video descriptions.Be active in Instagram hashtag communities.
  • Be genuinely active in Forums that interest you.
  • Be a genuine social influencer in whatever online community that interests you.
  • Make yourself available to be contacted.
Update: On Free Stuff Online Thu, 30 Jun 2016 23:15:55 +0000 6 Months Ago, I posted an article on how to actually get things for free online.

In that article I spoke about finding things for free via BzzAgent & PinchMe, and I was in some initial experiments with AMZReviewTrader.

Since then I have ceased participating with BzzAgent & PinchMe. I have found filling out their surveys and checking their websites was costing me between 2 to 6 hours per product, not including the actual activities that they wanted completed as part of receiving the product (i.e. writing reviews, Facebook posts, tweeting, and recapping word of mouth interactions). And at the end the products were often worth less than $10 and required me to find the product at a department store or grocery store.

I have found that for an average of 5 to 10 minutes on AMZReviewTrader I can get 1 product sent to me for free, in addition to getting the free product often I will get either a $5.99 amazon prime pantry credit or a $1 amazon digital content credit. I then have to spend about 15 minutes writing a 250 word review about the product and attaching a couple photos to the review.

I have received 70+ products over the course of 1 month from AMZReviewTrader with adding up the list prices of these products it was $2,500+ of product, when adding up the sales price it was $700+ of product.

I ended up with over $50 of amazon digital content credits and more $5.99 amazon prime pantry credits than I could use.


4 Ways to Maximize Your Paycheck Tue, 05 Jan 2016 23:30:29 +0000 The following list is in no particular order and is certainly not exhaustive.

  • 401k
    • At a minimum you should always try to maximize your 401k’s contributions by putting enough aside to your 401k to maximize your employers matching contributions.

      Not all employers give matching contributions, and the amount employers offer to match varies from company to company, but this is often another way to increase your pay by 3% to 10%.

  • Stock Purchase Program (ESPP)
    • Most publicly traded companies offer some sort of stock purchase program where a percentage of an employee’s paycheck is used to purchase company stock.

      These plans can vary from a simple straight deduction from the paycheck to purchase stock, or more complexly managed programs where there is a 6month window where an employee contributes to an account each pay check and then the company offers a look-back window to the first week of the 6 month window or the last week of the 6 month window and then a 15% discount on whatever price is lowest.

      Personally, I would never participate in a plan that did not offer a discount on the stock.

  • Health Savings Account (HSA)
    • Some companies offer a matching contribution to a company sponsored HSA, if your company offers this — consider taking advantage of this to maximize your pay.
  • Flex Spending Accounts (FSA)
    • There are a-lot of types of flexible spending accounts from accounts that allow you to use pre-tax money to spend on healthcare expenses to accounts that allow you to use pre-tax money to pay for childcare.

      Consider your situation, and if any of these accounts would work for you as it can lower your income lost to income tax.

      Get an idea about the various types of FSA’s from this wikipedia article.

Cayenne Squash Soup Recipe Mon, 04 Jan 2016 22:34:36 +0000 We have making the following recipe once a week since late fall, this currently the only squash soup that I have been able to consistently eat without pallet fatigue.

While this soup is not that spicy or hot and my wife who really dislikes hot and spicy food does like this soup. But we have found that this soup is too hot (cayenne) for our toddler to enjoy eating it.

I cannot eat this soup without toast or saltine.

You can use almost any variety of squash with this soup, we have used:

  • Buttercup Squash
  • Butternut Squash
  • Kabocha Squash


  • 6 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese


  1. In a large saucepan, saute onions in margarine until tender. Add squash, water, bouillon, marjoram, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil; cook 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  2. Puree squash and cream cheese in a blender or food processor in batches until smooth. Return to saucepan, and heat through. Do not allow to boil.


  1. This can be an 8-10 crock pot on high recipe if you prefer by combining the bouillon or chicken base water and spices and then adding the peeled, cored and diced squash to the crock pot.
  2. Puree squash and cream cheese in a blender or food processor in batches until smooth. Place in saucepan, and heat through. Do not allow to boil.

Leftovers: Place and bows reheat in the microwave.


Instagram: My Favorite Social Network Fri, 01 Jan 2016 20:00:04 +0000 Instagram has become my most favorite and frequented social network website. Initially I hated Instagram because my only interaction with it on FaceBook was people posting pictures of their morning coffee with a crappy software filter applied to it.

Since signing up 2 years ago I have experienced very few pictures of food or morning coffee in my Instagram feed. The also thing I haven’t experienced is people posting their abrasive political statements, or posting meme like images (like you see on FaceBook now).

Instagram only has the “good stuff” from your family and friends and none of the crap that makes visiting Facebook feel like an obligatory chore.

The nice thing about Instagram is that there is little friction to users of the website being able to tell a story, and as a follower or user of the website you can see their story progress each time they update their feed.

While I dont belive I am terribly interesting as a person to follow you can follow me here: …I am trying to get better at being interesting on my Instagram, but the story I am telling is generally thing things a Father does around his house with his kids, and the occasional adventures that we go on.

My current favorite Instagram account to follow: …David and Amy Freeman are currently spending 1 year in the BWCA wilderness to raise awareness about sufide mining; this account is amazingly interesting to follow.

Casey Neistat did a video about why he likes Instagram (embedded below):