MOSES LAKE — “That cow is gi-normous!”
A small group of first-graders reached over the metal railing of the temporary enclosure to try and touch the big, black cow, which was standing calmly munching hay.
Several managed to scratch behind the cow’s ears, and she tilted her head and moved close so they could.
“All animals like having behind their ears scratched,” said Felisha Roman as the kids petted and scratched the cow.
The animal then licked their hands and their jacket sleeves with her big black tongue.
It was another First Grade Farm Day, with high school students giving talks and leading an assortment of first-graders from around the Moses Lake School District around the big barn at the Grant County Fairgrounds to learn a little bit about farming and where their food comes from, everything from potatoes to pigs.
In the petting section, there were even a few kittens, born in a barn and finding the noise and all the hands a little overwhelming.
“These are barn cats, and they aren’t used to people, and it’s a bit too much for them,” Roman said as she hoisted a kitten for some kids to pet. “I was told they were two months old, but they’re so small, I’d say they are a month-ish.”
The kittens weren’t the only animals overwhelmed by it all. Junior Zach Puhlman was walking a pony around the inside of the barn after the animal bucked and looked like it was going to charge out of its enclosure.
“I’m just trying to calm her down,” he said.
Mackenzie Taylor, a senior at Moses Lake High School, stroked a black Holland Lop rabbit named Darla while she tried to remember back to when she was a first-grader.
“It’s funny to see the kids come up and go, ‘Oh, look, a cow!’ I did this when I was a kid, but I don’t really remember it,” she said.
“I came here too, but I didn’t think the people presenting were high schoolers,” added senior Ilene Orozco, who along with Taylor is now a high schooler teaching kids about rabbits.
Regina Darlington, a first-grade teacher at Peninsula Elementary, stood with her class beside a Grant County firetruck while firefighter Jason Fife talked to her class about what to do at home in case there’s a fire.
“What sound does a smoke detector make?” Fife asked.
More than a dozen first graders howled and screeched in response.
“We’re having a good time,” Darlington said. “They are really full of energy.”