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Farm Day returns to August Knodt School
August Knodt students Nicolas Flores, left, and Jude Debose, center, can’t believe they are next to “Jaba”, a horse from Souza Ranch in Escalon as Christine Law, right, holds him during Farm Day on Friday at August Knodt School in Weston Ranch. - photo by HIME ROMERO
WESTON RANCH – Farm Day returned to August Knodt School Friday after a one-year hiatus.

“We missed it,” said seventh-grade student Gursewak Singh, who recalled that a house fire from across the way cut short the previous agricultural event.

He was accustomed to seeing livestock and other farm animals thanks in part to the past farm days.

Singh was also comfortable enough to be around “Cathy,” who is the 6-year-old Boer goat that belongs to Claudia Valente of Lodi.

Valente has helped out at several farm day events in the Weston Ranch area in the past along with the recent Ag Venture organized by Janet Dyk, who was also one of several Farm Day 2011 volunteers.

“Volunteers are what made this year’s Farm Day possible,” said August Knodt teacher Janet Cabezut, who took over from Dyk as coordinator. “We were able to bring it back thanks to donations.”

She indicated budget woes as a big reason for shelving last year’s Farm Day. But she and members of the Farm Day Committee were resourceful in bringing in the presenters and volunteers, including students from the Weston Ranch High Future Farmers of America providing their assistance.

Dyk, for starters, brought in the three alpacas that she obtained from an Oakdale farm. They’re the same alpacas displayed at AgVenture.

She asked a group of first-grade students to identify the South American-indigenous species.

“A llama?” answered one student.

Another countered, saying, “A camel?”

 August Knodt first-grade teacher Amy Schut was thrilled to take her students to their first-ever Farm Day.

“They’ve been looking forward to it,” she said.

Youngsters also had a chance to embrace Tommie Lee, the rooster belonging to Grandma Judy, or run their hands through the mane of the Norma Souza horse, Jaba.

They also got to see up close the Garton Tractor along with the antique farm equipment, and the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department vehicles.

Cabezut believes the importance of Farm Day can be linked to the history of the area.

Once upon a time, Weston Ranch was part of the agriculturally-rich French Camp.

“It was when I first came here,” she recalled. “Now, they’ve planted more houses than plants.”