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As we came to know her, we realized what a very different personality Posey had from the males. Where they were placid, she was temperamental. Where Levi would walk right up to anything he wanted to investigate, Posey would go back and forth. Where Tumbleweed was aloof until caught, she was flighty. Where the males were companionable when on lead, she was affectionate.

Posey and the male llamas spent hours staring at each other across the fences. We wondered if she was lonely, but loneliness wasn’t really the issue in the way she watched Levi and Tumbleweed. It was the great drama of being male and female.

The first morning that Posey was here, Kelly took Levi, on a lead, up to her fence. The two llamas sniffed noses through the fence, and then Posey made a loud snorting sound she had been making at the males. She raised herself up very tall. Levi put his neck down low, and flipped his tail onto his back, indicating submission.

When we took Tumbleweed over, he and Posey went through the same routine. Kelly took Tumble into Posey’s field, still on lead. After a while they quit the display, and stood around near each other, doing nothing in particular.

Male llamas are used for packing, but the females are generally kept home to have the best conditions for pregnancy. Once females reach adulthood, they’re pregnant most of the time: a female carries her young for about eleven and a half months, and is usually bred again within two or three weeks after delivery.

Posey was still too young for such things. Female llamas were typically bred for the first time when they were between a year and a half and two years old. While we waited for her to grow up, we enjoyed taking her on walks. She liked to nibble. Her favorite stop was at a small maple tree on an unused dirt road we called Llama Lane. If she failed to munch a few maple leaves on the outward journey, she never missed them on the way home.

When I wore a bright orange tee-shirt with a large appliqued flower, Posey leaned over and sniffed the flower several times as we strolled.

We took her out for walks with one or both of the males. They would do their usual courtship activities, the males walking along with low necks and flipped-over tails, Posey walking with her back legs wider apart. We called it “junior high dance time.”

Ajila and her friends, camped out in the tent next to Posey’s field, discovered that when they played loud rock music, Posey came over to the fence and peered in at them. If someone approached the fence quickly, Posey would run away quickly; she seemed always poised to retreat. But if they approached slowly, she might favor them with the softness of her alfalfa-scented breath.

Posey was fond of one of our guests, a man with dark hair and a dark beard. She would approach him surely, linger next to him. We wondered what his charm was–and then remembered that Dan, Posey’s former owner, had brown hair and a dark beard.
That made us realize just how much llamas can tell different people apart. We had noticed that if we walked up to the fence with a guest, any of the llamas would pay more attention to the newcomer than to us.

If we had food in our hands, we received the attention. Sometimes I put a little grain in my hand when I caught a llama. It was a mixture of corn, barley, and oats, held together with molasses. We called it llama granola, and it was as popular with our llamas as human granola was with us.

One woman who came to visit was captivated. “I had no idea llamas were so approachable,” Char said, as Posey blew on her cheek.

“Would you like to help me comb her?” I asked, feeling a little like Tom Sawyer with the bucket of whitewash. I had been meaning to comb her for weeks.

“I’d love to!” said Char, and so we did, using a dog brush to pull out the loose wool, stuffing it into our pockets. We took turns combing, while the other one diverted Posey with nuzzles and kisses. Her wool was long and soft; it was a pleasure to sink a hand down into her thick coat.

In the dusk, we strolled up to the ridge with Posey. The lights of cars on the freeway about a mile away caught her eye, and she stopped. She watched the lights for a long time. We continued up to the top of the ridge, and she stood erect, silhouetted against the pink sky and distant mountains. Her attention was still on the lights. My attention was on her, my heart full of appreciation for this regal being.

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