Nothing says autumn quite like a trip to the local farm. With a petting zoo, five corn mazes, 20 acres of pumpkins and much more, newly opened Shady Maple Farm in Sussex is sure to become a yearly family destination. Helping run the farm is Oconomowoc resident Deanna Pattridge, who serves as the activities manager and does marketing for the farm. We caught up with her to find out what she can’t live without – on and off the farm.

1. Cast Iron Skillet

It is perfect for heat distribution (salmon and burgers are fantastic) and can go from the stove top to oven to campfire to grill. Once properly seasoned, this became one of my go-to pans for almost every meal.

2. Cozi Calendar App

This keeps me organized with activities, shopping lists, to-do tasks, etc. My family can share all details of each event with alert messages as reminders. I love the color-coded options to view things quickly. We use the app at the farm to share our group and animal care schedules.

3. T36-C5 Tea Tree Oil

It goes everywhere with us and is crucial for our animals health. It has stopped burn pain and prevented scarring and emergency room/ vet visits, saved our rabbit's life from a parasite. It repels a variety of bugs and so much more. During flu season, we all use a drop under our nose to kill germs before breathing it in. We are rarely ill.

4. Hokkaido squash

This tastes so much sweeter than other squash that is almost classifies to me as a dessert when baked with a touch of butter and brown sugar for a morning boost. You can eat the skin so it is easy to prepare and can be used in a puree for vivid color. I use it in muffins or cakes to add to the nutritional value but it also adds a sweet, nutty flavor as a secret ingredient.

5. Stitch Witchery

I can't sew and don't have the patience, so I iron instead. I use this for hems, pillow covers, place mats, Girl Scout badges, curtains, American Girl drapes and rugs, lampshade trim and to quick-fix shirts that need better tailoring or that have stretched out a bit.

For more information about Shady Maple Farm, visit or call (262) 719-9999.

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