I hope that's a good word for it anyway! I received a call this evening....It seems that a certain individual was determined to build themselves a "patio" before "winter" set in. Now generally speaking, a "patio" is not a big affair, and can be built "normally" in say 2 maybe 3 days. Less if you have "help" that is somewhat "competent". NOTE: all the quotation marks? You'll see why! This patio was begun around noon today, (wednesday) and should have been well on it's way ...However, the 2 people involved in building it spent most of the time arguing over the design, and the materials being used. By 10 pm Phoenix time, the caller was "concerned' about the "quikrete" product he had used. 4 x 4 posts, some 8+ ft tall, were placed into 5 gallon plastic buckets, and the mixed "quikrete" was poured into those buckets....( 9 bags, mixed according to directions, "they say", in a wheelbarrow!) According to this person, this was done at 2 in the afternoon..... He stated that at 10 pm, the concrete had still not "set" and was curious as to why... I asked him what the temperature currently was and if they had some severe rain, or, weather fluctutations recently. Well, it seems it was only about 54 degrees, or less, when the 6 posts were set in the buckets and the concrete was poured in. The temperature at 10 pm was 34 degrees! He poked his finger into one of the buckets ( filled to their tops), and discovered that the concrete was not only still the same consistency as when he had poured it, it now had some 1/2 inch of ice crystals forming on the top! He was confused as to why it had not set, and how could ice begin to form on concrete! Then I had to ask him questions I was almost afraid to ask... What was the weight of one of those 4 x 4 's when you bought it? Did it feel heavier than it should have? Did it feel wet or sticky? Yes! He said those 4 x 4's were at least 40 lbs! ( yikes!) They felt very wet, but not sticky, and they were all in a stack of others at Home Depot. ( I have been there before!) Well, some people are not builders, not by any means, and I am no carpenter as far as any real major construction. But, I have had 2 x 4's as well as 4 x 4 s that I mistakenly bought "wet", that not only cracked, but almost exploded in my garage overnight! It sounded like a rifle going off! That was in the summer here, and somehow the rapidly expanding water/steam? caused a rapid expansion the likes I had never heard of or seen before! He asked me what to expect.... I told him the following: IF the wood has a large amount of water inside and it freezes, it can easily crack. ? If the concrete and water separates due to freezing, it could break the plastic buckets, ? it could force the concrete up and out of the bucket like a "pushup" popsicle, ? Or, it could cause the wood to absorb even more water and cause the 4 x 4's to be ruined. ? Maybe, all of the above. ? In any case, I personally expect the concrete to be ruined. He was not at all enthused about any of my answers.... Now, the temperature in the town 15 miles south of his land, is 34 degrees....He is out in the open desert! I certainly think with ANY wind ( and they get winds, up to 50+ mph) freezing is certainly going to happen. I know personally about using concrete, and the force of freezing water... I am not sure about what will happen, I can only surmise due to his answers....Something is going to happen! Now, what on earth does this have to do with a "survival" topic? Good question! I found it strange that ANYONE not familiar with weather, ( when they have spent over a year in that area), the winds, and having little knowledge about concrete, would try to do this, just as WINTER has begun!??? Beginner's comes to mind! This is the very sort of thing that gets a lot of people into trouble! It will cost/waste time, money and labor, which all could have been done earlier in the year ( summer, or fall!) and when in doubt, ask first! For the next week, the temperatures up there will be in the low 50's and 40's, and stay 20 degrees or more colder at night! I had already asked why this was not considered, and why attempt to set posts in concrete in the cold weather. I was told their first thought was to move the buckets with 90 lbs of concrete and 4 x 4's into a mobile home with an 8 ft ceiling! Yeah, well, they rapidly found out that those "bail" handles on those orange ( Home Depot) 5 gallon buckets were NOT made to carry 90 lbs of wet concrete, regardles of the 4 x 4's! Besides, they were way too tall to go thru the doorway, ( spillage on a grand scale!), and they would not sit flat/level on the floor inside, unless they punched holes in the ceiling! Oh, yeah I forgot to mention, Neither one of the 2 can lift 90 lbs! Now, AFTER THE FACT, I was consulted, as to why it happened, what else could happen, what's the worst case scenario.... I don't know what the temperature was up there last night, But, I figure it was cold. I asked what the temperature of the water was, that they had used to mix the concrete with.....COLD!!! Hmmmmm..... Now, these "people" are considered to be "survivalist" types, as far as they are concerned. IF these people are any "representation" of the "survivalist types" out there, I think this could be beneficial, after the "smell" goes away..... Lot's of equipment, firearms, ammo, and maybe even a few food items would still be left, after their demise! I do NOT expect them to last very long at all! I know a lot of you here have a lot more experience and knowledge than I do with concrete and cold weather...Maybe a few carpenters too, I'd hazard a guess! Your thoughts on this fiasco?