Thursday, March 3, 2016

SOLSC #3 - The Popcorn Mouse

To read my student's posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!

'Popcorn' Mouse

A couple of months ago, the cats started getting a little extra interested in something under the furniture and there were several glimpses of a grey streak zipping across a floor. One morning, the furred wraith skittered across my slipper in the bathroom and slipped under the door towards the kitchen.

"We have a mouse!" I declared to my wife.

Now the big question was, how to catch it and talk to our five year old daughter about it? Then, I remembered a mouse trap a friend of mine built in his camper while on a hunting trip. A 5-gallon bucket, ramp, wire, plastic bottle and a smear of peanut butter had caught several of the mice who had been eating our food and keeping us awake at night. The mice run up the ramps, go to eat the peanut butter, causing the bottle to spin and they fall into the bottom of the bucket. I readied the supplies and but the trap near our kitchen table, all the while explaining to my daughter how it worked. I did not tell her that usually you put a couple of inches of water in the bottom to drown the mice, since I planned this to be a live trap.

Amazingly, within 24 hours, the mouse was caught and driven to a nearby wetland to be released. Dad 1, Cats 0. I set the trap up in the garage and caught and released two more transient mice over the next month.


Then came the Popcorn Mouse. We had heard a mouse in the garage on occasion, especially where we had set up the indoor chicken coop for our four hens when the weather was below zero for a few days. Warmth, straw and spilled feed was to much of a temptation and unsurprisingly, a mouse had made it home. I set the trap up again and waited. Soon, I noticed the peanut butter was upside down on the bottle which meant the bottle had spun, most likely from a mouse falling in. But there was never a mouse in the bucket. Over the course of a week, the trap had been sprung several times but with no success.

"It must be jumping out," my wife observed after I came in, a little frustrated at the failure of my trap. "Maybe it's a popcorn mouse," my daughter suggested.

And the mouse seems to get cheekier during the next week by continuing to set off the trap or make scurrying noises through the straw when I entered the garage. I was starting to  contemplate putting some water into the bucket to show it who was boss, once and for all.

Then the garage door broke. Actually, the torsion spring broke meaning the garage door opener could no longer lift the door. As I studied the broken door and worked to figure out how to get the cars out the next morning, my wife came in to see if she could help. Suddenly, she exclaimed, "I heard something! I think the mouse is in the trap!"

The cheeky bugger had climbed the ramp and trapped itself while I was in there grumbling at the broken door! We hurried over and the mouse, much bigger than the previous ones, was jumping frantically, almost to the top of the bucket. It was the Popcorn Mouse! I swiftly snatched a lid and covered the top, securing the still jumping mouse, its claws scratching and thumping against the plastic bucket.

After opening the door, I drove it to the wetlands and released it to it fate, hopefully far removed from our home. I'm sure it's prolific jumping will help it in its adventures and I will have one less moral dilemma.


  1. I'm glad you released it! That is a really funny story!

  2. Sounds like a picture book to me, Max, Adventures of the brave popcorn mouse. There was a time when mice entered, and we would wait till they scurried out, & we through a bucket over them, then slid a piece of cardboard to cover & release in the park. It was probably silly because they could come back in a few minutes. But it was rather fun, & we too didn't want the "kill".

  3. This is really hilarious! I hope the popcorn mouse found a future in the mouse Olympics for long jump!