Growing up on a farm, I learned, early and often, that "the land" is the source of life. "It's the land, Katie Scarlett" as a succinct statement of family values could have served my own father as well as it did Gerald O'Hara in Margaret Mitchell's novel Gone with the Wind, 1936.
I remember the sweet, rich, ancient, earthy odor that filled the air when Daddy broke our last bit of native sod. I remember that he did so only in response to governmental regulations that he feared would prevent him from ever being able to cultivate that land if he didn't plant it that year.
Family legend preserves the words he spoke to Mother when their first irrigation well pumped water from the Ogallala Aquifer, "Well, it's done. If we're lucky, the water will last long enough to get the kids through college with maybe enough left to buy you a brick house in town." Unlike, most we never expected that "the water will never run out." We never wasted water, not on the farm, not in our home. Yes, the water paid for three kids to graduate from the colleges of their choice: Rice University, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech. Finally, when the "water ran out" to the well that supplied the house, Daddy & Mother bought a brick home in Floydada.
Our family philosophy, stated more by our actions than our words, was: conserve, preserve, replenish, pick up the trash. We were Conservationists. Library of Congress exhibit for today includes a link to the history of the American Conservation Movement