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Things I learned:

1. Don’t expect good food between Memphis and Tupelo.

2. Don’t step on the anthills. (I actually already knew this, but I’d forgotten. Adeline is really the one who learned this lesson, when she stepped on a giant fire ant hill, got swarmed by raving ants, and got covered in bites. Oops.)

3. People legitimately are really freaking nice down South.

4.Elvis is kind of a big deal. He was born in Tupelo, and there are reminders of that fact everywhere you turn. Every city needs a claim to fame, right?

5. The farm is huge. I knew it was 85 acres, I just didn’t realize how BIG that was. Crazy.

One tiny portion of the farm. Seriously, this isn’t even a third of one field.

6. The farm is beautiful. The fields are wide expanses of rolling hills, covered in waving grass (or cut hay). There are small stands of trees scattered throughout, and hedges surrounding and marking off each field. The hedges are tall trees – pine, oak, maple, pecan – filled in with bushes and other low-lying vegetation. They’re so dense you couldn’t walk into them and they are, apparently, full of wild animals. There are two tiny little creeks in deep gulleys, covered over with trees. When you get into the gulley, you’re in another world, full of shade and scattered light, hanging vines and exposed roots. The whole place is amazing. I can’t wait to go back tomorrow!

Which brings me to the last thing I learned on Day One:

7. Two and a half days is not nearly long enough to do research for a novel. Keep that in mind, fellow writers!