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Circuit Breaker

My dad installed a Dropcam to watch his mushrooms grow in real time

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I called my parents this weekend because my mom was cleaning out my childhood bedroom and thought I might want some dresses I left behind years ago. While asking about a vintage ‘60 dress I wore for Halloween one year, she also asked if I wanted “that camera.” What camera, I asked. “The one with the USB plug? On your desk?” I had no idea what she was talking about. Was someone surveilling my childhood bedroom?

My dad, who was also in the room, spoke up and clarified that the camera was actually his and he had installed it so he could live-stream his growing mushrooms. My parents recently got into the idea of growing their own button mushrooms and evidently decided to keep their mini farm in what was once my bedroom. Times change so fast.

Anyway, I loved the idea of my dad sitting at work watching his mushrooms grow, so I thought I’d ask him a few questions about why he did this.

When did you first set up your Dropcam?

A week ago.

Why?

I set it up after we came back from vacation because we should have been watching [the mushrooms]. We didn't, so they overgrew, and if we had seen that, we could have had them picked [by your brother].

They were so big when we came home; they looked like portobellos. They weren't button-shaped. They were brown a little bit and overripe.

Would you ever go public with your stream?

Yes, because I think it would be cool.

Any other thoughts?

If I do it again, I’ll grow shiitakes.

My dad kept the Dropcam installed in the living room for around a year, but I guess after investing in a professional alarm system, he felt he didn’t need it there anymore. Watching an empty room is way less exciting than watching the slow mushroom life cycle.

I don’t think my dad has ever seen live eagle baby cams or any of those other setups, which makes it kind of awesome that he intuitively thought a live mushroom cam would be enjoyable. He watches the stream on his phone from time to time. I plan to check in on the mushrooms occasionally, too. You’ve got to appreciate good dad ingenuity. Seriously, what will they think of next?