Country Life Today: How Instagram has supported local pumpkin patches all around the world

Today's round up recounts how Instagram's prevalence of pumpkin photographs has boosted growth in local pumpkin farms, how a herd of goats saved a presidential library and discusses whether poor weather will affect the December vote.

Instagram grows the pumpkin patch craze

Post Halloween, it can’t have escaped many people’s notice that the traditional hunt for pumpkins in a supermarket has been replaced on social media with a trip to your local farm.

Rebecca and Duncan McEwen at Arnprior Farm in Stirlingshire have seen the increase in the five years since they’ve opened.

‘When we started back in 2015, it was mainly families, but now there are a lot of couples on dates and groups of young people that come along too.” Said Rebecca.

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The growth of the trend can be seen on Instagram feeds all over the world, with celebrities (most famously Kylie Jenner, this year) frequently posting pictures with their squashes. The beautiful fall colours of a pumpkin patch make them extremely photographable.

Finally, something to thank social media for!

Full story (BBC News)

How goats saved Ronald Regan’s library

Laura Corbett, goat farmer, Wiltshire. She is pictured here two of her rare breed White Park cattle. Photograph: Millie Pilkington/Country Life Picture Library OVERS

Laura Corbett, goat farmer, Wiltshire. Mrs Corbett is seen here with some of her 100-strong herd of Boer goats. Photograph: Millie Pilkington for the Country Life Picture Library

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library has survived California’s latest forest fires – all thanks to a hungry herd of goats.

Back in May the library hired a team of goats to clear away the flammable scrub around the library, creating a firebreak that gave firefighters extra time to react and control the recent blaze that threatened the building.

Full story (BBC News) 

Who will benefit from poor weather during the December election?

Winter. Snow Arctic ice. Fragment. Close-up.

The short answer? No one.

There is some debate on whether Conservative party members (who are assumed to be more likely to have cars) will find it easier voting should a snowstorm hit the UK in mid-December, or whether Labour voters (assumed more likely to live in urban areas) will see a greater benefit. However, although there is evidence that turnout is lower when the weather is worse, there is no evidence to suggest that either party will benefit more than the other.

Full story (BBC News)

On this day…

…In 1938, Seabiscuit, quite possibly the most famous racehorse of all time, beat the 1937 Triple-Crown winner, War Admiral, by 4 lengths in a 2-horse special at Pimlico racecourse in Maryland.

Charles S. Howard’s favorite picture of Seabiscuit, taken at Saratoga with Red Pollard up. Photo is labeled with Seabiscuit’s measurements.

He was foaled in Lexington, Kentucky from the dam Swing On and sire Hard Tack, a son of Man o’ War, also widely accepted as one of the world’s most famous racehorses.

And finally…The robin who crossed the North Sea


In a stunning impersonation of World War II pilots, this little guy flew for four hours across the North Sea to avoid being attacked by gulls.

Wearing a ‘nanotag’ (the smallest VHF radio transmitter science has produced so far) the robin was tracked moving from Germany to the Netherlands, then onto Britain to spend the winter on our shores.

Welcome, friend.

Full story (The Times)