from the old forum:
The ready-mix driver wanted me to meet him at the top of the hill so he wouldn't get lost. On the way, I saw these deer.
And then this bear. Sorry for the poor photo. That bear needs to learn to pose for the camera.
And then a couple of miles down the road, another bear, and he was even more camera shy, so I didn't get a photo.
The driver asked me how wet I wanted it. I said "I'll let you be the judge," thinking he knew far more about it than I did. So it came out pretty darned soupy. Just as we had one side filled, one of the forms blew out. Damn @@!!!!###
Partly because of the blowout, we ran short at the other end. That wouldn't have been a big deal, except the mix was so soupy that the low spot was sucking mix from the rest of the pour, and making it impossible to maintain a level near the low spot.
I was not happy. It's not really a big practical problem, since the problem spots can be patched up on the next pour, and they are mostly footers that will eventually be covered up any way. It's just that I wanted things to go perfect since it was my first big pour.
It is now nearly 3 hours since the pour began and the mix is still too soupy to float. What happened is that they added a bunch of retarder to compensate for the 2 hour drive out here. I don't think the driver had a great deal of experience with the retarder, causing him to misjudge how much water to add. If the mix hadn't been so soupy, it might not have blown out, and it would have been easier to patch up the mess. But I am not pointing fingers at anyone because it was a learning experience for both of us.
Lessons learned: 1) need better bracing 2) order a little extra and prepare a place to put the extra (there's plenty of projects that need concrete around here) and 3) ask the driver to take it easy on the water. You can always add more water if the mix is too dry.
On a positive note, I used hardware cloth in several places to patch awkward gaps in the forms, and it worked great. If I had used the hardware cloth instead of boards where the form blew out, I think it would have held. The hardware cloth is cheap, easy to cut and fit around rebar, and can fastened to the boards with nails or to the rebar with tie wire.