Ramona offers recipes, advice
With a ready smile and good word for everyone, Ramona Krause is a joy to the townsfolk of Java. She does, however, readily admit to one vice: Pepsi-Cola. Regular, not diet! When listening to concerns brought to her by others, her sage wisdom is gleaned from simply surviving some hard times: “It could have been worse.”
After thinking about it, most people tend to agree.
Also in her repertoire, “What are you going to do?” Translation: “Although the individual we’re speaking of may have a few quirks in their personality, they’re probably not going to change at this stage in their life.”
The eldest of four children born to the late August and Rosa Buechler, Ramona and her younger siblings, Renata (Voller) Harlan and Kenny, grew up on the family farm southwest of Bowdle. She and Renata still look so much alike they are occasionally mistaken for each other.
Born of good staunch Germans from Russia heritage, her parents only spoke German in the home.
“I entered the Northwest Odessa Country School only able to speak German,” she said. “Back then the schools didn’t provide a translator like they do today. I guess it might have been hard at first to learn to read when you can’t even speak English, but kids learn fast.”
Ramona was born during the Great Depression and in the midst of the Dust Bowl years.
“Like many of our neighbors, we were probably poor,” she said, “but we didn’t know any different because everyone else was in like circumstances.”
Her mom made dresses for the girls from flour sacks, she recalled.
“They came in a variety of fabric patterns, from floral to stripes,” she said. “Reuse or make do. Nothing was wasted.”
They weren’t ashamed because all their girlfriends were wearing similar outfits. She does remember having to wear these ugly beige cotton stockings.
“What I do remember about the Dirty Thirties is mom putting towels at the base of the doors and windows to try to prevent the dust from drifting in,” Ramona said.
Being the eldest, she preferred accompanying her dad doing chores outside rather than learning how to cook.
“How hard could it be,” she said, “you just pick up a cookbook!”
Today she’s grateful that she took the time to learn the fundamentals of handiwork from her mom including embroidering and sewing.
“It makes you wonder how many other things you wish you’d taken the time to learn from your parents,” she said.
She does regret that she never got the opportunity to finish high school, she said.
Back then girls were not encouraged to finish their education. Instead, she went to work doing housekeeping or babysitting for others.
She met Harlan “Blackie” Krause, the son of I.C. and Lydia Krause of rural Java, they fell in love and were married.
“I guess he was nicknamed Blackie because he had a rather dark complexion,” she said. “I called him Blackie, too, because I had a brother named Harlan.”
Although, she said, she must have had a few cooking disasters, her lack of experience didn’t come back to haunt her.
“Blackie was such a good sport,” she said. “He would eat anything I cooked.”
They bought a farm north of Java that had once belonged to Blackie’s dad. They had three girls and a boy.
Marsha and her husband Dana live in Watertown; Marlys (Sasse) and her two daughters Andrea and Beth and one great-granddaughter live in Watertown; and Sheila lives in Aberdeen. James and his wife Lori and daughter Shelby and sons Randy and Chris live in Worthington, Minn.
After Blackie died in June 2000, at her children’s insistence, Ramona moved into town.
“There used to be several farms out our way, but they’re all gone now,” she said.
She enjoys tending her flowers garden, which isn’t quite as large as the one on the farm, and also embroidering and sewing.
Her favorite activity is “visiting the kids,” she said.
RAMONA KRAUSE’S RECIPES
Pastor Mary Lou Gruebele’s Chicken Barley Casserole
1 cup pearled barley
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 can mushroom pieces with liquid
1/3 cup slivered almonds
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked chicken “scraps” or leftovers
Brown barley in margarine. Add chopped onion and sauté until soft. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for five minutes. Place in a covered casserole or small roaster and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.
1 box white cake mix (without pudding in mix)
8 oz. yogurt (any flavor)
2 egg whites
1 1/4 cups water
Mix together and place in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
12 oz. Cool Whip
8 oz. yogurt (any flavor)
Mix together and refrigerate.
3 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 10-oz. pkgs. frozen strawberries (sliced and thawed)
4 eggs (beaten)
1 cup oil
Reserve 1/2 cup berries for topping. Blend the rest of berries with dry ingredients. Add eggs and oil. Pour into three 7 1/2-inch by 4-inch loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup berries (reserved)
Spread on loaves after baking.
4 cups miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
4 cups Cheerios
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Melt together marshmallows, margarine and peanut butter. Stir until smooth. Pour over combined cereal and chocolate chips. Press lightly into greased 9-inch by 13-inch pan.
No Bake Rocky Roads
1 6-oz. pkg. butterscotch chips
1-6 oz. pkg. chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
2 cups miniature marshmallows
Melt chips, peanut butter and butter in microwave. Add nuts and marshmallows. Pour into buttered 9-inch by 9-inch pan.