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About a week later, Kelly had to go to California briefly. We didn’t think Juliet was due for another ten days, but she gave birth while I was home alone. Another normal birth–perhaps a little slow for my impatient tastes–and another girl, Blossom’s full sister.

Our pastures were full of females, eight of them. With three little ones, the evening run was busy. The babies’ antics would stimulate the yearlings, Blossom and Pocahontas, to run around with them. Sometimes Lil or Posey would kick up her heels for a moment as well. We called it the Indianapolis Five Hundred.

We had been breeding our ladies, but we weren’t sure who had gotten pregnant yet. It was still too soon to do blood testing. I heard of a strategy for testing pregnancy: you take your stud, on lead, for a stroll through the females’ pasture. The ladies’ responses to him are likely to tell you a lot. We had used a variation of this technique, where we would have a male and female meet across the fence; it was usually reliable.

So we haltered Levi and took him in with the females. All five youngsters came running over. As he greeted his three daughters and the other two girls, he curled his tail around submissively, a typical adult male response to babies.

I took him toward the adult females. Lil spat at him several times. “Great, maybe she’s pregnant,” Kelly said.

Levi and I were near Posey’s rear end. He sniffed it. She ran away. Levi went after her, and I kept up with him, still holding his lead rope. We ran up hill and down. Levi started trying to mount Posey. Abruptly, she sat down. Levi sat on top of her, and began orgling. Soon he was breeding her.

The young llamas had been running along behind, and now they stood by the breeding pair. Levi, as usual when breeding, seemed oblivious to everything going on around him. Posey sniffed me in a mildly curious way when I happened to stand in front of her. Everyone but Juliet was gathered around. I patted little Renaissance. Renny was about a month old now, and not easy to catch. But she too seemed lulled by the event, and allowed me to stroke her.

Kelly and I were visualizing another lovely daughter. We practiced visualization in many aspects of our lives. We did it faithfully with all the llama breedings, imagining that a healthy female baby would be the result.

Was it just coincidence that our pastures were full of healthy females? I thought of a quote I’d read somewhere: “When I pray, coincidences happen. When I don’t, they don’t.” We intended to give coincidences every possible opportunity, so we pictured Posey having a lovely Levi daughter the following year. This was the first time we had bred her to him.

Lil was trying to bite Posey’s ear. Then she nibbled on Levi’s front foot. We shoved her away, but she sat down right next to Posey. Blossom tried to mount her father, and Kelly pulled her off. Lil got up and went back to nibbling on the breeding llamas. Lally stood on her father’s back feet, but he didn’t notice a thing.

I haltered Lil, thinking I’d put her out of the way in the barn. She resisted me every step; after a few yards, she sat down and wouldn’t budge. I just left her there. “Maybe she’s not pregnant, after all,” I said to Kelly.

With Lil Bit sitting on the sidelines, the last few minutes of the breeding were quieter. Blossom investigated Levi’s face. Juliet wandered out from the barn and sniffed his rear. Eventually he got up. We wouldn’t know it until the next summer, but Levi and Posey had just started a daughter.

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