Hero dogs, goat yoga and a giant pumpkin! – CNN

Make way for the farm equipment! Idaho is known for its potatoes, and a surprise cold snap this week put crops of the state’s most famous veggie in jeopardy. While most farms were able to collect their potatoes before the big freeze ruined them, one farmer in Hamer wasn’t able to take in all his crop in time. In response, other farmers sent their workers and “a ton of members of the community” showed up to save his hard-earned spuds. A neighboring farmer named Jason Larson sent about 25 employees to help. Larson estimates the full convoy of trucks from the community included nine harvesters, and about 50 people in total showed up to pitch in. When the work was done, fellow farmers were able to help the farm save several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of potatoes. “What people do is they help their neighbor,” Larson said. “There really wasn’t a second thought about it.”

A pair of unlikely heroes

This week we learned about not one, but TWO hero dogs. In Sydney, Australia, a Pomeranian named Gucci saved her owner from a house fire. Her owner George Rutonski awoke to Gucci barking like crazy while the house burned down around them. (It isn’t clear whether the house’s smoke detector was malfunctioning or whether it was damaged in the fire.) The blaze did serious damage to Rutonski’s house, but man and dog are luckily fine. Rutonski specifically credits Gucci for his survival. “As they say, man’s best friend is his dog,” he said.

Meanwhile, another heroic canine fire rescue was carried out in South Carolina. Brian Rand, a Vietnam veteran, was awoken by his dog Curly, who nudged him and poked him until the man got up. Only then did Rand see the tall flames licking at his side window. It appears Rand’s house is done for as well, but he and Curly are safe and sound.

The friends we make along the way

This summer, Travis Snyder left his job, sold his car, got rid of his apartment and took off on the trip of a lifetime. Over 42 days, the Marine veteran hiked 810 miles around Lake Michigan to raise awareness of veteran suicide prevention. It was a simple and powerful mission, but as time passed, the big hike turned into something more. People started stopping on the road to greet Snyder, sharing their personal struggles and offering him assistance. He planned on camping outdoors at night, but because of the generous offers of spare beds, hotel rooms, and hot meals, he never had to. From time to time, Snyder was even joined people who wanted to walk alongside him, sharing miles and memories. “In a good way, it was a little overwhelming,'” he said. “And I was honored to share part of their burden with them, just going through the loss of losing a loved one or struggling themselves with suicide.”

Raise a glass to…

Former President Jimmy Carter, who was spotted in Nashville this week doing some serious hands-on charity work despite having 14 stitches and a black eye. Carter suffered injuries from a fall in his home last weekend, but he joined his wife later in the week to help build new porches on 21 Nashville-area houses as part of the 36th Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project with Habitat for Humanity. Oh, and by the way, Carter turned 95 last week. Ninety five, injured and still swinging a hammer? That’s dedication.

A bright idea

You know how stepping on a Lego is one of the worst everyday feelings you can possibly experience? This is like the opposite of that: Lego launched a pilot program called Lego Replay that lets you send in your old Lego sets, which will be cleaned and sorted and sent to children’s non-profits around the country. (Side note: Where do you apply to be a Lego sorter? That sounds strangely therapeutic.) “We know people don’t throw away their Lego bricks,” Tim Brooks, vice president of environmental responsibility at the Lego Group, said of the project. “The vast majority hand them down to their children or grandchildren. But others have asked us for a safe way to dispose of or to donate their bricks. With Replay, they have an easy option that’s both sustainable and socially impactful.”

You gotta see this

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! This cartoonishly gargantuan gourd won the All New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off, tipping the produce scales at 2,294.5 pounds. That’s … a car! That’s a baby elephant! (Not an adult one, though, which can be around 12,000 pounds depending on the species.) While it may set some local records, this voluminous pumpkin isn’t close to the Guinness World Record, which is 2,624.6 pounds. Still, it’s impressive.

Wanna get away?

You know a place is beautiful when it looks like it should be a pre-installed background on your computer. This is Lake Inari, Finland, and its calm waters are about as remote as you can get. High above the Arctic Circle and close to Finland’s border, the area is the center of local Sámi culture and provides a great viewing spot for the aurora borealis. It’s one of CNN Travel’s picks for the most beautiful places in Europe.

Who knew?

Trivia time: What’s the world’s oldest-known novel? It’s widely considered to be the “Tale of Genji,” written by Japanese noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu in the 11th century. The novel tells the epic romantic story of Prince Genji and his love, Murasaki-no-ue. Earlier this year, a piece of text was found wrapped in blue binding and tucked away in a Japanese storeroom with all kinds of other centuries-old treasures. This week, experts confirmed that the mysterious text is in fact a missing chapter from the book! It’s an important one, too: The chapter contains details of the first time the prince meets Murasaki-no-ue. Wow, an exclusive literary release almost 1,000 years after the original work. Your move, JK Rowling!

Tell us something good

Monroe, Oregon

A few years ago, Lainey Morse combined two great things and came up with something wonderful: Goat Yoga. It’s exactly what it sounds like — you do yoga while surrounded (and sometimes underneath) curious, affectionate, mischievous goats. And sometimes chickens. And no, you definitely don’t need to be an advanced yogi to participate. “Goats don’t judge your yoga poses and we have people that are all shapes, sizes and ages,” she says. “We even have older people that come in with walkers and just do the arm motions the best they can. They just want to be in the environment of the class because it’s filled with joy, laughter and adorable goats!” Morse also founded The Goat Yoga Fund, a non-profit that helps support agro-tourism and explores the specific effects of goats as therapy animals. Want to try it out? Morse has partnered with other beautiful destinations around the US to offer the experience to more people. Goat Yoga now has 16 nationwide locations, and Morse says she’s hoping to expand to New Zealand and the Virgin Islands soon.

Thank you to Lainey Morse for sharing her story!

Impact your world

Last week, I shared a great story about the Siesta Key Oyster Bar donating the cash on its walls to Hurricane Dorian relief, and I mistakenly said the bar was in the Florida Keys. It’s not! Siesta Key is in Sarasota, on Florida’s Gulf Coast. So if you were planning on visiting the picturesque white sand and thoughtful local businesses, there’s about a six hour driving difference! My apologies, and thank you to all of the readers, Florida residents and Siesta Key locals who kindly pointed out the error.

Shameless animal video

There’s always time for cute animal videos. That time is now.

It’s time to trot out a Halloween classic. This is Teddy the porcupine, vociferously enjoying a bunch of pumpkins. If you’ve never heard a porcupine before, prepare to lose your mind.

Also, fun fact: A few years ago, I met an African Crested Porcupine and it was one of the neediest, cuddliest animals you could imagine. All it wanted was to crawl all over you and be loved! They smell like pee, though. No animal’s perfect. (Click here to view)