''Improve the land,'' he said, ''always the land. Forget the house. A home is just a roof, handy enough for shelter, but no sweat if you must pitch a camp beneath the stars. Shiver the timbers; let the rafters rot; toil for the soil that somehow will be there when buildings fall to hurricane or flood.'' He saw no flood, no hurricane, no rain, and soon no neighbors. TStill he plowed his loss under his profits; stubbornly intoned, ''The land,'' not ever lost, not ever owned.