Safety, Rules, and Terms of Visitation
Terrain on the ranch is typical of the Edwards Plateau area and ranges from wet and dry grassland slopes to steep, rocky cliffs and rocky creek beds. Water depths in the creek range up to 8 feet and footings along side are slippery when wet. Be careful when walking along cliff and creek bed areas and anywhere else where footings may be loose or slippery. Wildlife on the ranch is typical of the Texas Hill Country and includes white-tailed deer, coyotes, fox, rabbits, armadillos, skunks, opossums, and raccoons. Although skeptics might tell us otherwise, we have also seen and photographed the nocturnal ringtail cat. Numerous species of birds have been seen on the ranch, and many of these are permanent residents. Commonly seen larger birds include hawks, buzzards, herons, quail, doves, owls, roadrunners, and wild turkeys. Sometimes ducks visit the calm waters of Sycamore creek. We caution our visitors to be aware of poisonous snakes, which include coral snakes, copperheads, cottonmouths (water moccasins) and rattlesnakes. Other common stinging critters include centipedes, scorpions, and fire ants. Some lucky visitors might experience a migration or sighting of the virtually harmless Texas cinnamon tarantula. Poison ivy grows in several locations on the property.
Being ‘nature-safe’ means respecting wildlife and its place in the environment. It means being aware of the living things around you. Nature-safety also means knowing how to avoid unpleasant experiences with nature. Most plants and animals have defense mechanisms to protect themselves and their offspring. A defense mechanism might be anything from a wasp's stinger to Poison Ivy's invisible oil that makes us itch for days. Each defense mechanism is meant to scare off attackers. When we learn to understand we can turn fear into fascination.
Safety in the Field
Since venomous snakes and stinging scorpions are common in the rural areas of Texas, it is important for ranchers, hunters, rural residents, outdoor enthusiasts and others that frequent these areas to exercise caution.
Learn to recognize the snake species that are likely to be in the area. Please do not kill a snake - even a venomous one - they serve a valuable function in the environment. The majority of bites result from people taking unnecessary or foolish risks with venomous snakes. Understanding what snakes look for in suitable habitat can help you know when to be wary. Understanding their behavior will help you know what to do if you encounter one. Snakes like tall grass. Always wear shoes while outside and never put your hands where you cannot see them. Be careful when stepping over fallen logs and rock outcroppings. Take care along creek banks and underbrush. Snakes do not prey on humans and they will not chase you, in fact they usually retreat or escape if given the opportunity. The danger comes when they are either surprised or cornered. Do not play around with a dead snake - they have been known to bite and envenomate.
Preventing Snake Bites
Watching where you step, put your hands, or sit down is one of the best ways to prevent snake bites. Poisonous snakes live on or near the ground and often like rocks, wood piles and other spots that offer both a place to sun and a place to hide. Snakes avoid your huge body, but will definitely bite if stepped on or otherwise trapped. Most bites occur in and around the ankle. About 99 percent of all bites occur below the knee, except when someone accidentally picks up or falls on the snake. The fangs of venomous snakes, though long and sharp, are relatively fragile and easily deflected or broken. These fangs usually don't penetrate canvas tennis shoes and almost never penetrate leather shoes or boots. Watching where you step and wearing boots in tall grass can prevent most snake bites.
Snakes are not something to be feared, but rather a creature to be respected as a fascinating member of the outdoors.
Enjoy your Visit, but Please Honor these Grounds Rules as a Guest at our Ranch:
Simplified Legal Terms and Disclaimer or, ‘The Small Print’ (personal responsibility, respect for property and others, and manners):
Guests shall honor our minimum safety rules stated above and any other restriction that might be written or verbally communicated as required by prevailing conditions. Our clients are ultimately responsible for their invited guests. Guests are visitors by invitation from us or our clients (renters). We enforce zero tolerance for horseplay and intoxication, and as these are private grounds and not a public park, we reserve the right to refuse service at any time to anyone. We expect visitors to leave the property immediately if asked to do so. Tex-Zen Dreams and the Tex-Zen Ranch proprietors strive for the safety of their guests and shall not be held responsible for personal accidents or adverse encounters with the native wildlife. We kindly request any guest or visitor who cannot agree to these terms not to enter the property or to exit immediately. Your presence on the property indicates your agreement to these terms and rules.
Guest Room Safety
The Tex-Zen Dreams innkeepers strive for the safety of their guests. The Cottage was constructed with nearly fire-proof concrete materials for protection against fire from the outside. While many of the inside materials may be fire retardant, the drapery and bedding fabrics, carpet, sub-floor, wooden furniture and cabinetry are nevertheless combustible materials. There shall be no smoking within the guest rooms. Absolutely no candles or other open flames other than what might be provided by the innkeepers are allowed. No cooking is allowed other than the normal use of the in-room toaster and microwave oven. With this said, each room is equipped with a modern AC powered smoke detector and an approved fire extinguisher can be found under the bar sink. Sink areas are equipped with ground-fault circuit interrupters and the bedroom circuits are protected with arc-fault circuit interrupters for guest safety towards electrical hazards. Both rooms are equipped with nightlighted flashlight. Shower entries are equipped with ADA approved safety grab bars. Ramps are available by request in place of step up to porch deck.
The entry door on each room is equipped with a keyless entry system for added security and so that guests won't need to keep track of a key. Unless prearranged at or after booking with your customized code, a security code will be provided at check-in.
Please notify us immediately for any First-Aid or emergency. A first-aid kit is on hand at the residence.
Daily maid service includes picking up your breakfast tray, wiping standing water off wooden countertops, picking up wet towels off the carpet, and restocking paper products, coffee, etc. as needed. However, you are responsible for keeping your room clean and tidy as desired during your stay. Generally, the maid and/or hostess will not touch your personal belongings unless necessary to perform the above services. The standard cleaning surcharge applies to normal room cleaning after your departure. Fresh towels, soap, or other depleted supplies are provided upon request. Mid-week linen change and lite cleaning is available at extra charge for weekly rentals, and daily maid service can be arranged for extra charge at time of booking.
About Your Water Supply and Conservation
Unless otherwise notified or indicated, water at all faucets at the residence and cottage is provided via an on-site potable rainwater harvesting system. Our guests are assured that the water is properly treated through settling, sediment and activated carbon filtration, and ultraviolet purification, and will probably discover that it is the softest and best water ever tasted! But our supply is not unlimited, so it is mandatory that guests run water only as it is needed. Showers should be limited to a maximum of 8 minutes. HOT WATER MAY RUN OUT AFTER THIS TIME! Although we have a hard, smelly, well-water backup system, we guarantee you won’t like it if we have to switch over to well water or draw from the creek! The hose bib next to the electric meter at the SOUTH end of the Cottage-of-Dreams is supplied by well water. The hose bib at the south end of the spa gazebo is supplied by raw, unfiltered rainwater. Ask your innkeepers for more information on the rainwater collection and purification system.
Guest Room Smoking Policy
The Cottage-of-Dreams at Tex-Zen Dreams is an annex of our home. If we ask you not to smoke in our home, well, you shouldn't. Ridding the rooms of obnoxious smoking odors is expensive and time-consuming. If our sensitive noses detect a smoking odor in our rooms, you will be asked to leave and your remaining nights will be forfeited. As with our other House and Grounds Rules, if you can't agree to these terms, please don't stay at Tex-Zen Dreams.
Guest Room Children Policy
The Cottage-of-Dreams at Tex-Zen Dreams is an annex of our home. The designer decor, antique furnishings, movie selection, and the ambiance we strive to maintain at the Cottage-of-Dreams are not suitable for children. We will at times make exceptions for children aged 11-17, and with apologies to conscientious parents and well-mannered teenagers, we require a damage security deposit to insure that potential minor damages in our home and guest cottage are paid. Guests with children aged 11-17 are required to post a $250 extra cleaning and damage security deposit. If we detect excessive damages at any time during your stay, you may be asked to leave and your remaining nights will be forfeited along with your deposit, otherwise the deposit will be refunded at check-out or within 10 days at our discretion. Children are not allowed to stay in our guest rooms unattended by an adult. Parents are responsible for movie censorship and viewing. We cannot accommodate children under 11 years old under any circumstances. As with our other House and Grounds Rules, if you can't agree to these terms, please don't stay at Tex-Zen Dreams.
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