About Nick Grabbe and Betsy Krogh
Nick grew up in Washington, D.C., where the only vegetables he saw came from the supermarket. He spent 23 years as the editor of three weekly newspapers in Amherst and Worcester, Mass.. For the last 13 years of his career, he was a writer for the newspapers of Amherst and Northampton, Mass. He retired in 2013. He excels at typing, crossword puzzles, ping pong and cooking.
Betsy grew up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, where she was an active Girl Scout. Her interest in gardening and plants began when she was in her 20s, and she is now interested in permaculture and how people can meet their needs in a sustainable way. She believes in living in harmony with the rules of nature, and has participated in demonstrations against the Keystone XL pipeline.
Nick and Betsy have been married for 36 years and have lived in the same 100-year-old farmhouse a mile from the center of Amherst for 31 years. They have tried to live a rich life on a very low budget, and have turned their yard into vegetable and perennial edible gardens. They have been influenced by books on voluntary simplicity such as “Living the Good Life,” “Living More with Less” and “Your Money or Your Life.” They are churchgoers and the parents of two grown sons.
Where does the name of this blog, “Adventures in the Good Life,” come from?
It is a combination of the titles of two books, “Adventures in Contentment” and “Living the Good Life.”
“Adventures in Contentment,” written in 1906 by Amherst resident “David Grayson,” was a series of stories about the joys of country living and basic human goodness. The book With its sequels sold over two million copies and inspired many David Grayson clubs. When impostors started writing books under the name David Grayson, a well-known journalist came out as the real author of the books. His name was Ray Stannard Baker, and he lived on a farm on Sunset Avenue in Amherst and died in 1946. In contrast to Emily Dickinson, Amherst’s best-known writer, Baker was famous in his lifetime but is little known today.
“Living the Good Life,” written by Helen and Scott Nearing in 1954, became popular in the late 1960s and 1970s as many baby boomers grew disillusioned with conventional urban life and sought to learn how to live off the land. Nick read the book in 1974 and, though he lacked the skills to build a stone house, was influenced by the Nearings’ lifestyle and worldview. In 1976, he met and interviewed Scott Nearing when he came to Amherst for a conference on alternative energy. Like Ray Stannard Baker, Nearing was immersed in controversy before going to live in the country; he was an anti-capitalism professor and pacifist. Nearing died in 1983 at age 100.