I see that many professors spend all of their time applying for grants, minus a little bit of time to interact with the graduate students on their grants and a little bit of time to fulfill their teaching obligations. They are of course doing a great service to their graduate students, who perhaps otherwise would not be able to do research, but it doesn't seem very enjoyable to be in such a position.
I've spoken with many researchers at national laboratories who say they chose to go that route so that they could be mostly freed from the grant game (of course some of them still have to write grant proposals).
I enjoy doing research, but my real passion is in teaching, so my goal has always been to be a university professor. However, I am not fond of the idea of "hustling for money" (as one researcher at a national lab put it). I personally would much rather spend most of my time preparing strong lectures. (I would consider high school but the topics I would like to teach only are offered in universities.)
So, my question: can one survive in university academia without grants, perhaps at the cost of not having graduate students? Is it enough to be an effective teacher, with a strong albeit grantless research portfolio?