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“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as
autumnal sunshine
by staying in the house.
So I have spent almost all the daylight hours in the open air.  

~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Autumn and its burnished beauty never disappoints. I find myself asking as I drive down an ordinary city street, “How is this world so beautiful?”  The fiery blaze of leaves letting go and the mist hanging low in the valley while the sun rises on the hills… it all seems like too much, God’s sweet extravagance to us.

This season is also fleeting, as October nears it’s end and we’ve been readying the farm and garden for winter, shuttling kids to their various activities, and trying to keep our turkeys alive and well and growing in this final month before Thanksgiving. Though just today our cow broke them out of their coop and they were everywhere. Some day I’ll give the turkeys their very own post, as they have given me so much material to work with. Seriously.

We have also been processing and preserving our best apple harvest ever: canning applesauce, making apple leather and dried apples in the dehydrator, and apple cider on our 1874 hand-cranked press. 

There is a lot of sweat-equity in the 6 gallons of cider we pressed, and we will enjoy pulling it out of the freezer for a treat throughout the year.

Autumn has also brought me to a new season, as my kids are all in school for this first time ever. I have many, many hopes and dreams and goals for the year. However, I’m quickly realizing that I am not going to be able to even touch most of them, because man… these hours go fast and laundry and meals are a full-time job around here. But one of my goals for the year was to “figure out” sourdough – something I’ve longed to do, but has always seemed daunting. (Between animals and children, I wasn’t sure I could handle one more thing to feed.) But when I was gifted a 100 + year old sourdough starter from my best friend, I decided to take the plunge. The starter has a very cool history involving rides to Oregon in a covered wagon, on a plane to Ohio, and on another plane back to Oregon.

Proof that my starter is alive – look at those bubbles!

I have not mastered sourdough bread at all. It is a multiple-step, many-houred process that I have attempted only twice. And while the bread was not inedible, it was… how shall we say…dense.  However, I have been faithfully keeping my starter alive, feeding it once or twice per week, and this has left me with a lot of starter to either discard or use. Since I can’t abide waste, I have been scouring the internet for good recipes that use sourdough starter.

I make sourdough pancakes or waffles almost every week and sometimes make a double batch of starter so I can make a double batch of waffles. I have made brownies (not a winner) and banana bread (definitely a winner). I have also used it as flavoring (but not leaven) in a regular yeast bread. Since we are knee-deep in pumpkin season and in honor of my pumpkin purée post last week, I have created a sourdough pumpkin chocolate-chip bread to share with you. If you have not made your own purée, canned will work just as well. Emily, this one’s for you, Friend. Thanks for the starter, and may this help you put yours to use.

Sourdough Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Bread

Author: Kara


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 8x4 loaf pan.
  • In large bowl, stir together sugar, oil, and applesauce.
  • Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla and stir until smooth.
  • Using a whisk or wooden spoon, slowly add starter and beat to incorporate.
  • In small bowl, stir together dry ingredients.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Pour into greased pan and bake for 60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Just a note: I use the same roast and purée method for butternut squash as I do for pumpkin, and last time I made this bread, I used butternut squash instead of pumpkin. It was a vibrant orange color and tasted amazing. My child who loathes butternut squash thought it was my best “pumpkin” bread ever. Happy baking!

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